Saturday, December 09, 2006

About the "Rate the Rejection" Series

Before anything else, let me say that I have the utmost respect for literary magazine editors. They have a hard job that provides little recognition. Most face chronic budget limitations and a contracting base of subscribers, but they're also receiving more submissions than ever. So it's no surprise that they often take months to read what you send them and, when it's not up to par, return the kinds of generic rejection slips that anyone trying to get his or her work published knows so well. There's just not enough time or money, and no other way to survive.

Still, equally hard-working writers who do their best to respect literary magazines (by not submitting materials simultaneously to multiple journals, for instance) deserve to be treated humanely. So A Writing Year will hold them to account. I'll post all the rejection letters I get (though let's hope there aren't too many) and grade every one, looking at everything from the quality of their sentiment to the thickness of their paper. Egregiously long turnaround times are a pet peeve of mine, so I'll tell you how long they took to respond as well.

Here are the rejections I've rated so far. Check back often as I'm certain the list will grow over the course of the year in a depressingly fascinating way.


jj said...

Try this one on for size. I submitted a short story once to a very small magazine, whose name I have gratefully forgotten and would not tell, even if I could remember it. Well, naturally my short story was rejected. AND THEN, a few months later, they sent me a letter, stating that their magazine was on the verge of going broke and would I consider giving a donation or getting a subscription!!! OOOOO, hi diddle dee dee, a writer's life for me! Oh, by the way, in my egomaniac fury, I wrote them back a letter, which said that they deserved to be out of business, because they did not publish any work of mine. So there!

Radish King said...
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jj said...

I would agree. That is why I told that amusing anecdote. This can be an absurd way of making a living--or even trying to get your art recognized. Rejections are hard to deal with but try some humor. It might see you through, BooHoo.

Biombo said...

I love this idea you have! I have a couple of good in-your-face-sucka rejections myself from some of the same publishers.

For me, a rejection is almost expected, it's part of the process...until you get that one publication and then those rejections don't even mean a thing.

I use my rejections letters as a challenge, to push my writing to new limits. I'm not going to let someone else's opinion on my art hold me back.