Saturday, June 20, 2009

Handling Rejections

So, in ten days I will be handling the not so pleasant task of sending out the rejection emails for the stories that I am not going to use for my first issue of "Emerald Tales." I've been thinking of how I am going to handle this unpleasant task, knowing full well that the recipients of those emails are naturally going to feel disappointed with my decision and some will feel hurt, some will take it in stride, some will take it as a personal rejection of who they are. It is the last part that bothers me the most.

Whether I "like" a story or not, says nothing about the writer as a human being. I know some wonderful people who can't write a story to save their life. Similarly, I know some brilliant writers who I wouldn't invite into my home and one or two who should be locked up and the key not just thrown away but destroyed. But, I know that quite a few writers have their self-esteem, their sense of self-worth tied up with their writing. I'm really not into taking a chunk out of anyone's self-esteem.

Furthermore, I am a bit blinded in formulating the dreaded rejection letter as I know nothing about the person I'm sending it to. If I knew the person I was communicating with, then I could tailor my email to suit their personality.

And so I am pondering the best solution to my dilemma, a form rejection letter or a personal critique of the story. I'm not sure what the answer is. I know that no matter what I decide to do, there will be a few people who will feel more pain than the situation calls for. While it is quite natural to feel disappointment, it shouldn't be taken personally, because it isn't. It really and truly isn't.


  1. I'm sure you'll have a lot of writers who like/prefer/appreciate some feedback on the "why" of rejections. :) They are nice (and often exceedingly helpful) but... I actually can completely sympathize with forms editors use. For time constraints, for submissions that are completely unsuitable for the magazine, etc.

    I don't know if it would work to try critiques/personalized comments at the start, if you have time, when sending rejections? See how that works for you, and if it's too much of a hassle or not working, you could go back to a form?

    I'm looking forward to the first issue of Emerald Tales, either way. :D


  2. Yes - the hard part of the job. But that is also part of being a writer, handling rejection. And as Merc said, if you have time, or can handle the blastback. Some agents, publishers don't give feedback, because you never know how people are going to handle THAT. They might hit you back with "what if I changed it?" etc.

    Have you thought of emailing other editors of ezines, etc. for a little advice? They might be forthcoming...

    Good luck, Bunny!

  3. oh... and I hit you up on my blog:

    sorry. devil made me do it....

  4. Thanks for the suggestions. :)