Sunday, April 23, 2006

Needless To Say

All writers hate rejection. We hate lengthy response times, too. But they’re both part of the game.

In my capacity as editor of Story Station, I have to reject a lot of stories. And we get a lot of submissions. I’m pretty behind on getting to them, what with the 75 other things going on. That’s a problem I’m trying to correct.

This weekend, I read 27 stories. I rejected 24 of them for various reasons: too short, too long, wrong format, adult subject matter, bad writing, bad grammar, story in ALL CAPS, entire 3000-word story in one sentence, writer doesn’t speak English, etc, etc. The guidelines were broken in every way.

It makes me realize what a pain in the ass I was to editors when I started out.

Doesn’t fit the guidelines? Hell, once they read my magnificent story they won’t care!

It turned out they did care. Hopefully I’ve matured a bit in regard to following the guidelines.

I’ve had a lot of rejections. I’ll have many more. One thing I never did was bitch out the editor about the length of time it took to get a response. If I thought the wait was too long or I found another market for the story, I wrote the editor and withdrew the piece, after querying first about the story’s status.

Here’s a response I got today after I sent the author a rejection:

Dear Mr. Justice,
The response time was far too long. Needless to say I won't be submitting to you again.

After my tears at the thought of never again having the privilege of reading the author’s work, I wondered something.

If it was needless to say, why did he say it?

Wouldn’t just “I won't be submitting to you again” covey the information more effectively?

Meantime, If you want to write a YA story, and you can follow guidelines, go here, then give me a shot.

I’ll try to get back to you in a reasonable time.

Needless to say.


Anonymous said...

Anyone who complains to an editor about a rejection is craptacular in my book. And, hey, if it's been a year without a response, submit somewhere else. Dickwad.


Chris said...

Ha! Touche with the "Needless to say" comment!