Rejections are singing a song of rejection.

Three new rejections today. One fiction two non fiction.

Two form rejections one not so form.

The editor absolutely spot on went with me where I was going in that tiny piece. It is fairly unusual for me to get a rejection quite like that. The editor loves, really loves the little story on a personal level but doesn’t feel like it would quite fit with the zine.  She also said something really nice about other things I’d written (she admitted being nosy like I am and followed my links) which was pretty neat.

Looking back at this year most of my rejections are form I think. Do form rejections usually say we look forward to more? Or try again? Is this one of those ego blind spots that I have had for years?

Some of my rejections have been full of praise and things that make me feel squishy in my ego area.

As I’ve tried to tell a few just starting to get into the submission game authors I’ve met in the past few months, a lot of being an author is people saying no.

Sometimes just no. Sometimes people try to be cheeky and wind up being condescending and kinda rude. Some say no by never responding etc.

It feels pretty good to be at a place where I can a.) enjoy my rejections. Especially the ones that say nice things.  And b.)  wallow in my butthurt for about five minutes then get back to work.

This is the first year that I have resubmitted stories that have been rejected. Once upon a time I immediately trashed or tore apart stories if they got rejected once. More often than not I ruined them doing that.

Now I can say okay well X editor isn’t into that, aww my ego then oh wait maybe THIS editor will love it.

And so it goes.

I’ve also come to the most important realization that not everyone HAS to love every word that comes out of my mouth.

That is okay.

Right this instant I already had my ten minutes of butthurt. And if you need a quick lesson here’s what you do.

This is what you say to yourself,

“OH you BASTARDS how can you not understand my beautiful fragile genius MOTHER FUCKERS”

Do not say this to editors they don’t really like that.

Rinse repeat as necessary. Get yourself some small consolation treat. I had a chocolate.

Sulk for a few more minutes.

Shake it off, woman up* and get back to work.

Now it is time for me to get back to work.

*or man up if you want.

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3 thoughts on “Rejections are singing a song of rejection.

  1. Catherine Leary

    About personal vs. form rejections: I think it has something to do with the personal preferences of individual editors.

    I, for example, almost never give personal rejections, even if the story is a good story but not great, even if it’s great but it didn’t move me, even if it’s otherwise awesome but a bad fit for our press. Mostly it’s because I don’t want to deal with problematic authors—there was one last year that was just OMG—by turning a rejection into a dialogue. Most authors don’t do this, they understand that a personal rejection is not an invitation to debate, but the ones that don’t are just ridiculous. (Think the whole Donny Thane thing at PANK.) Robin, the other FFP editor, is just the opposite; almost all of her rejections are personal ones, unless the piece is just so egregiously bad that her reasons for rejecting it should be self-evident. She’s got way more of a mentoring vibe going on than I do. So my guess is that we all do things a little bit differently.

    1. Oh the badly behaved authors. I knew a few of them years ago and it always still just mortifies me on their behalf. That is just, wow insane to me. Who wants to deal with that? Who thinks it’s okay to behave that way? I can’t imagine being that guy.

      I get both versions. Although I have to admit I’ve gotten some form rejections that made me want to ask them if they needed an intern to cut and paste names.

      I also have always secretly wondered how editors decide how they are going to do it. Because as you know already I’m so nosy.

      1. Catherine Leary

        Believe me, you don’t want to be that guy. Ever.

        When I do use a personal rejection, it’s almost always for a story that I would’ve really really loved if we were a more traditional press. I think that’s because it still manages to keep the dialogue door firmly shut, in that I’m not challenging someone’s work, I’m just saying something like “if were were looking for XYZ instead of ABC we would be all over it, because it’s awesome.” It’s hard for an author to argue with that. We reject a lot of good work because it’s just not freaky enough.

        I’m kind of a weird writer, I think, in that I don’t want feedback. I prefer to get feedback in a different setting. It helps me keep my stuff straight, but that’s just about my own personal preference. I want feedback from peers and teachers; I want acceptances or rejections from editors. I figure all feedback from a particular editor is going to teach me is how to get published in their mag/antho/whatever, which…I don’t know how beneficial that is in the long haul? Because when you get past a certain level of skill, it’s all about the editor’s personal taste.

        I loved the thing Roxane wrote at PANK about how there is so much awesome work that she has to turn it away because there just isn’t enough space in each issue for all of it. That’s like my dream job, right there. I would love to work at a place like that.

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