Tuesday, September 9, 2008

rejections

I just read J.C. Tabler's last post on his muddled rejection from 'Potters Field' and I was just wondering what kind of rejection you like to recieve. I know that no one likes to recieve a rejection letter but they are inevitable (like my wife says, 'if I had your proficiency rating where I work I would be fired but you are actually doing pretty good.' She is a pharmacist and they aren't allowed to make mistakes very often.)

I was just wondering, do you prefer the form letter that bluntly but politely tells you that you weren't accepted or do you prefer the often wordy personal rejection that tells you everything that was wrong with your piece and then politely tells you good luck getting it placed in the future.

I am still up in the air myself. I would think that a personal rejection is better because the editor took the time to personally tell you why he didn't like your story (if he didn't like it at least why it wasn't right for them.) On the other hand the form rejection is nice to because it can be taken so openly. Your piece could have stunk on ice or maybe they just had enough pieces that were that length. Maybe they had just accepted a zombie story and are looking for something in early European werewolf.

I still prefer the acceptance letter hands down, rejections just suck.

10 comments:

Jeremy Kelly said...

I like the personal rejection letters by far. I take the criticism very well, and often it helps.

What I don't like, however, are the rewrite requests. Arrgh! Its like rejection with an offer on the side to rewrite, resubmit and bite all your nails down to the stubs of your fingers all over again...

And what I dislike even more is a rejection of a rewrite - I'm terrified of that. I haven't actually received one yet, but I am waiting on a response from a rewrite as we speak, and I don't know how well I'm going to take it if its a rejection.

Natalie L. Sin said...

I like the ones that tell me the main reason they didn't take it. Short and sweat and gives me something to work with! I think it ends up being fifty-fifty with my rejections.

Catherine J Gardner said...

A personal rejection pointing out any faults are always welcome.

Carrie Harris said...

Oh, yeah, personal rejections are the way to go. Except that one time, I got a rejection that said that he didn't like one word and didn't like a specific character, only there was no such character in the book and I'm certainly willing to change one word in a novel! How weird is that?

Jeremy D Brooks said...

Hey all...I'm pretty new at this game, 1 story sold and 2 out pending, so I'm awaiting my first rejection (won't be long, I'm sure). That being said: what, would you estimate, are the percentages of generic reject letters you receive, as compared to something specific to your work and maybe even useful as a criticism? (speaking mostly about short story markets, but I would be interested to hear for other works as well)...

Jamie Eyberg said...

I've found about forty percent of my rejections (give or take) are personal with the rest being form or just so vague I can't tell the difference. I miss the days of mailing them in and getting little notes jotted down on the form letters, although I don't miss paying good money to send them in and awaiting their answers.

Aaron Polson said...

Personal rejects are nice, but very hard to write. Sometimes a fine story really doesnt' "fit" in a collection/publication. Sometimes the decision is strictly the editor's opinion, and another editor might feel differently. You still have a fine story. I'll go with Natalie--give me the main reason and leave it at that. Short and sweet...uh, not really that sweet.

J.C. Tabler said...

I'm a fan of the personal rejection. At the same time, I like the straightforward rejection format...the initial "We regret to" or "At this time we have decided" followed by some commentary.

As for the form letter, I don't mind it. I don't really get form rejections, I get a good number of personal rejections, almost all polite. Still, part of the form rejection is the editor doesn't want to give false hope, or the editor is just overwhelmed by the number of submissions.

Either way, personal or form, I'm fine...you know, just as long as it doesn't leave me scratching my head.

Jamie Eyberg said...

Wow, who would have thought that the idea of a rejection letter would bring out so much passion in the community. Great posts.

Jeremy D Brooks said...

Yes, great info...thanks for your insights, everyone.