Thursday, August 17, 2006

A Tale of Two Rejection Slips

Okay, so most rejections aren't really rejection "slips" anymore. Over the course of the last year, I was rejected twice by The Missouri Review via email and I noted a subtle but possibly important difference between the two rejections.

The first rejection read like this: "Thank you for giving us the chance to consider [story name] for publication in The Missouri Review. Though it does not fit our current needs, we appreciate your interest in our magazine and your commitment to quality writing. We wish you the best of luck in publishing your work and hope you'll consider sending us more in the future."

It's obviously a form rejection, but it seems it's a form rejection with a difference. Consider a rejection I received from them about six months before: "Thank you for submitting [story name] to The Missouri Review. Though it doesn't meet our current needs, we appreciate the opportunity to consider it for publication. We wish you the best of luck in placing it elsewhere."

The extra line in the first rejection was reason to get excited. Even though it was obviously an impersonal rejection, it had that extra line that actually invited me to send more. Reading further between the lines, it also told me that it's likely they'd appreciate something more linear and narrative as opposed to experimental, judging by the two stories I sent and the responses I got.

I admit it, it's pretty lame and anal to compare different rejection emails on a line-by-line basis (I use a Gmail account for email and it makes it easy to tag and search old e-mailed rejections so I can do a comparison/contrast). It's also pretty lame to get excited about a "good" rejection but that's just the way it goes for those of us who are trying hard to get published. I was telling my friend J about the whole universe of types of rejections you can get, and I know it sounded weird to somebody who hasn't submitted fiction to magazines: impersonal ones (don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out), "good" rejections (please send us more) or the best kinds of rejections, where the editors give a lot of feedback and give you the impression that something in your work moved them to comment. Getting warmer, right?

It is a strange pastime to have, though, when you find yourself obsessing over just what kind of rejection you receive from a magazine. It's definitely a labor of love when you have to soothe your ego in that way.

Thanks for reading and keep on writing,



Post a Comment

<< Home