Just days ago I wrote about Shenandoah's novel approach to subscription solicitation and noted--though not with a great deal of optimism--that my rejection fears had not materialized. Yet.
Sadly, I was right not to expect too much. But in the interest of science I'll put aside my disappointment and carry on. Let's assess:
Rating Summary: Shenandoah's rejection slip is printed on card stock and nicely formatted. It fits neatly into a standard envelope, which I realize isn't saying much, but it beats the carelessly folded and wrinkled rejections of some other journals. I think it's clever that they have left space on the slip for an editor to write comments. It's not visible in the image above, but the card is also printed on the back, with a short description of the journal and additional space for notes.
The content of the pre-printed note itself is mediocre. It's hard to get around the awkwardness of starting out, "Although the poems, story or essay in this submission...." They might as well have put a check box next to each possible genre. Why not just keep it to "your submission"? Also, though I appreciate that they appreciate my "fine work," I wish that they would have left out that particular adjective, which clearly is not sincere. I'd prefer to see something that recognizes that what I wrote took effort and a certain commitment, without making any claim as to its quality -- after all, it's a rejection, so that's already been done.
I can't tell from this note whether the penned "Thanks for trying us!" comment is actually or only apparently personalized, but I think that it was inscribed by a real human being. I suspect the hand of an intern at work, but I'm okay with that. I much prefer it to a blank pre-printed note, which is far more common.
As for turnaround time, Shenandoah was fast, responding to my submission in just four weeks. I appreciate that more than anything else.
The Grade: A-. Shenandoah got just about everything right. They lose a few points for the quality of the note's content, but give me little to complain about overall. See? It's not that hard.
Click here for more about the Rate the Rejection series and links to other rejections I've rated.