We’ve all gotten them. Rejection letters. They run the gamut from leftover napkins scrawled with obscenities to carefully worded and helpful emails that enable us to shelter a bit of self-esteem. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if we could dictate how those letters were written? After all, if we’re going to get them, shouldn’t they meet OUR guidelines?
Author Janet Josselyn thinks so! And I agree!
Please welcome Janet to Women’s Fiction Writers!
Despite Its Evident Merit—Submission Guidelines for Rejections
by Janet Josselyn
Rejection is a staple of a writer’s diet and it comes in many forms and guises. My personal favorite, however, is the rejection that describes how talented my writing is while simultaneously rejecting what I have written. I have a stack of those backhanded compliments. I culled the most flattering and they appear at the beginning of Thin Rich Bitches.
Some editors, on the other hand, don’t even attempt to say something flattering in their form rejections. “We’re sorry to say that your piece ‘The Comely Behavior Manual for U.S. Army Generals’ wasn’t right for us, despite its evident merit. Thank you for allowing us to consider your work.” Apparently the “evident merit” wasn’t sufficiently evident. In response, I have this to say:
Thank you for submitting your recent rejection of our latest submission. Unfortunately, the rejection isn’t right for us at this time, despite its evident merit.
Before submitting a rejection in the future, you might want to familiarize yourself with our Submission Guidelines for rejections:
- Ditch the happy face after the part where you assure us that there is a publication “somewhere” that will appreciate our work.
- There are only so many chuckles you can get out of making fun of conservative white men who work and have female wives. Open the humor up a little, please. Sometimes it’s actually funny to make sport of people who look or act odd. People who go all crazy-ass on people who eat meat can be really funny.
- Are all of the published authors of your journal related? We are not suggesting incest-style “related,” but we are suggesting “old boys club, wink-wink, nod-nod, not-if-you-are-a-girl-writer related.” Okay, just had to play the gender card. You guys are liberals, right?
- Evident merit comes in many sizes. Despite its evident merit, a rejection should evidence sufficient merit or it will not be right for us at this time.
Thank you for allowing us to consider your rejection.
Rejected Writers Everywhere
Janet Eve Josselyn graduated from Colby College, Harvard Graduate School of Design and Boston College Law School. She is an attorney and an architect. She has published one novel, Thin Rich Bitches, and has written numerous articles for publications in the US and the UK.