Thursday, February 17, 2011

Decoding Rejections

I'm feeling a little down because a piece I've had out on submission since November was just rejected. So, as one often does, I'm trying to puzzle out what the rejection message means. Since the answer arrived by e-mail (I love e-mail submissions! -- not only faster and easier than snail mail, but free of expense), I can't tell at a glance whether or not it's a form letter.

On the positive side, the editor apologized for the long wait for a reply, even though it fell within the outer range of their predicted response time. That's something I don't get from publishers very often!

I know "it does not fit our needs" is generic language. But what about the statement that they hope I'll consider them for future submissions? Do they say this to everybody? Or does it mean they actually see my fiction as promising or "almost there"?

A brief indication of what, exactly, about this work wasn't quite right would have been helpful, but of course major publishers seldom supply that information. The result, alas, feels sort of like throwing darts at a target blindfolded. And this is an outlet where I'd really like to get published, so I hope to try them again eventually.

At these times I can sympathize with Snoopy (in "Peanuts") when he gets a response to his manuscript along the line of, "We can't think of anything good to say about your writing." To which he mentally replies, "I have neat margins."

Margaret L. Carter
Carter's Crypt


  1. Your blog is most timely for me. I got my first rejection letter on Valentine's Day. Great blog

  2. Condolences! Good luck with future attempts.

  3. Anonymous8:35 PM EST

    Don't let it get you down. You'll make it!

  4. I'm sorry to hear about the rejection, Margaret.

    Any editor who burned their bridges with regard to future submissions from you would be a fool, so I am not at all surprised that you were invited to submit again.

    Another point easily forgotten is that an editor may love a book, but can only purchase it if she has an opening in that particular genre, for that particular style, at the time that you submit... and has the budget.

  5. Sorry for the rejection. We have all been there for sure. I like what Rowena said. So keep on submitting!

  6. Thanks for the encouraging remarks! All true. I have little doubt of being able to place the novella with one of my regular publishers. Still, I would really like to break in with THIS one. Yes, if we don't keep trying, we don't get anywhere.