Thursday, May 13, 2010

Anatomy of a Rejection Letter

I don’t really mind the phrase “due to the volume of submissions” as apology for rejecting a submission without comment. The phrase that trips me up is “Several of us have read it.”

At first, I feel a slight glimmer of hope: it was good enough for the intern to pass on to her boss. Then, dejection: two interns read it and neither one liked it. Then I go round and round, trying to imagine their process. Who is this “us” and how many of us are interns, how many editors?

Then, we move to the next level, in which I realize, alas, that “several of us have read it” is probably not a special phrase for a level two rejection, but just a gentle way of saying that they really did read it. (I always, in my desire to protect my ego, that there is some harsher boilerplate rejection letter and that what I’m reading is the one for the special rejects, the ones who have permission to try again.)

In any case, I have written a really nice editorial, which, I anticipate, is about to be rejected for the second time. I will post it here when its timeliness expires or I’ve gotten tired of trying.


Keri Walsh said...

I read this with a wry sense of recognition. Deconstructing rejection letters is one of my favorite sports. Thanks for sharing...

Geoffrey Philp said...

More and more, I'm starting to understand when they say they "Have to love it." The amount of people and energy to roll out a book is incredible...continue to roll with the punches...rope a dope...float like a butterfly...whatever ever keeps you going.