Wednesday, 4 November 2015

IWSG Day! Rejection Slips I have Known...

by Melodie Campbell
The Rejection Slip is the hurtin’, cheatin’ country song of the writer’s world.
I could fill a book with the ones I’ve collected. And yet amazingly, I still keep writing.
But one thing I’ve discovered: there is a hierarchy.  If, like me, you write for a living, or merely for the loving, you will undoubtedly have a collection that cries out for classification.
            Keep them.  Devote a drawer to them.  (In my case, a steamer trunk.)  Make your own list of rejection translations and get to know the lingo. 
            Here’s my list, to get you started:

  1. “…unfortunately, it does not meet our requirements at this time.”
This means No.  I allow myself ten minutes to rant, and then try another market.

  1. “…does not meet our current needs, but we would welcome seeing more of your work.”
Hey – you’ve reached them!  Maybe they can’t use this piece, but they like your style.  Send more.  Persist.  Be relentless.  That’s how I first got into Star Magazine.  I wore them down.

  1. “….if you would consider revising, I would happily have another read of it.”
Go, go, go!  Whenever an editor gives direct encouragement, run with it.  Act immediately.  Revise and re-mail.  Invite her to dinner.  Walk his dog.  Do what you have to.  But don’t lose his interest.

      I cherish personal replies from editors, not only for the time they take to write, but also for the hidden messages within.  Some are priceless.  Here are two gems from my personal file (er…trunk):

      “…not for us, but I think the ‘Idler’ uses satire.”
      That’s right, pass it off to the competition and hope it sinks ‘em.  

And my personal favourite:

      “…we found your novel an interesting and compelling work, however…”
      Shucks.  I should have known they don’t publish ‘interesting and compelling’ works.
Do you keep your rejections slips?  Any choice ones you’d like to share?

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  1. It would make a fun coffee table book.

  2. I received one many years ago that said my manuscript wasn't "controversial" or "edgy" enough (or something to that effect, I don't have it in front of me). Considering the fact the book contained murder, rape, incest, pedophilia and rampant drug use, I have no idea what the hell they were looking for.

    IWSG November Post

    1. CD, may I suggest - neither did they? grin
      Thanks for commenting!

  3. lol to that last one. I keep an inbox for them. I haven't read them through again, though. Maybe I will. :)

    1. We should all keep them, for when we are bestsellers and write our memoirs :)
      Thanks for commenting, Deborah!

  4. Rejections are hard to deal with. The trick is to keep writing, not let them get to you. You'll find someone who loves what you write... eventually. At least, that's what I keep telling myself.

    1. Olga, wise words! I'll repeat them to my Crafting a Novel students tonight. Thanks for commenting.

  5. I don't keep them (most are on email and easy to delete). I don't want the negativity to get me down. My post today is all about letting go of what others think, but that's very difficult when you're trying to find a publisher. That's why I self-dubbed. Sounds like you're successful at traditional publishing. Congratulations.

    1. Thank you, Karen! The whole rejection thing doesn't end when you are published...then come the mean reviews. None of us escape them.

  6. Thanks for sharing these. Short story rejection letters read in much the same way, and yes, personal comments from editors rock! However, I'll take the "we would like to see more work from you" as a huge positive.
    Keep on writing!

  7. It is a hard game, isn't it, Tyrean? We are criticized or rejected by editors who can't do what we do. Thanks for commenting!