So you’ve written something and you’ve sent it out. It is inevitable that you will get rejected a bunch of times before you get accepted. For those of you whom don’t slavishly follow every single word posted on Fangs and Clause, I’d like to excerpt from a comment Teri made yesterday.

The last piece I published was rejected 27 times before it found a home. And I believe there was one before that that swirled around the bowl about 40 times.

Send it out and wait for the rejections to pour in. Celebrate their arrivals. Being rejected doesn’t mean your story or poem or essay sucks. It probably just means they’ve already chosen the pieces they want (and it’s damned hard to knock those off the podium), or you got unlucky enough to be one of 100 pieces that must be read and checked off the list today, or the reader had a fight with her boyfriend, or they read you late at night and were too tired to read far enough, or they already have a story about elephants that juggle and can’t have two, or or or or or or…..

Finding a way through rejection is vital for writers who want to be published. I don’t know how to tell you how to do this, except to read other people’s words about it. My sister Cougar Clause takes heart from the rejection letters that our father used to receive.

Paternal Clause was a professor of science. His rejection letters did not say “Unfortunately your piece does not fit our editorial needs at this time, best of luck placing it elsewhere.” No, his letters said things like “The explanation of XXXX is sketchy, to say the least” or “on the scale relative to other manuscripts received at the same time, your paper was given a lower priority rating,” or (from a scientist so famous even I have heard of him) “you better hope your paper is not sent to me for review.”

So, take heart writer comrades, and keep up the good work. Or as Paternal Clause used to tell me “Get in there and fight!”


10 responses to “Rejection

  1. I’m loving Paternal Clause!

    Once, a journal sent me an email saying they were rejecting my essay. They loved it, they wrote, but 4 of the 5 editors were “very uncomfortable” with the 11 year old caddy in the piece.

    I just said thank you and went on my way, but I wanted to scream: This is nonfiction! And he really was eleven!

    Did they want me to make the kid 14?? Anyway…. The piece was eventually accepted elsewhere (months later) but this ridiculous rejection has always stuck with me.

  2. My (seasoned) approach to rejection:
    1) look at the subject line of the email for 5mn
    2) nerves steeled, look at the message
    3) in case of rejection (the only case we are talking about here), call them fuckers.
    4) don’t read the comments (yet)
    5) immediately look up another potential submission target
    6) glance at the comments
    7) call them fuckers again (why is fucker a curse word? don’t nice people fuck?)
    8) find and open the original submission
    9) look at the comments again (read them this time)
    10) consider the comments and decide whether: a) they are right; b) they are wrong; and c) whether I am a publication slut, or true to myself (I am a publication slut. not pure of heart like Indy or Papa Clause)
    11) Move on

    It’s like childbirth to me. Hard when it happens, but quickly a thing of the past.

  3. Three cheers for rejection! Today I got a standard rejection letter (Dear writer…) from a publication that gave me a personalized, please-send-us-something-new rejection last time. Sigh.

    • This IS the worst. Do they have online submissions? Because what really gets me is how easy it is for those with online systems to “personalize” different levels of rejection letters. With no effort at all, none, the letter can use your name in the “Dear” section.

      • They do have levels. But they can all be customized. I’m always disappointed in the journals who don’t bother to personalize at least a little. It takes zero time and says something, I think, about the journal. And its readers.

      • I’m of two minds, Teri. On the one hand I think editors can give a reason for rejecting a MS. However, I once worked on a journal where I told people they could write a one-sentence critique about each piece. The next thing I know I’m getting a letter that says “Well! You say XYZ about my poem, but over ONE THOUSAND journals clearly disagree with you.”

      • Oh no, I don’t mean for them to give any feedback. That is just asking for it. Sad, but true. I just mean indicating the writer and the story by name.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s