Friday, April 25, 2014

Is There Any Such Thing as a Good Rejection Letter?

My argument: yes.

I actually had this whole other post written out for today, but I postponed it until next week because of something that happened yesterday. About a month ago I submitted a short story to my school's online literary magazine. Weeks later, I finally got my response, which you've probably guessed.

I didn't get it. But I feel like my rejection wasn't bad. I'm going to tell you why yes, it sucked, but why I'm not completely dejected. First, here's the response I got:

I want you to note how personalized this letter is. I mean, that's important. While this isn't an agent responding to a book query, it's still pretty stellar to get a response where there was actual thought included. There's an entire paragraph devoted to what they liked.

There are many people-especially up in the big bad world of traditional book publishing-who will receive what we like to call a "form rejection letter." That means there's a letter already written, and all they do is fill in your name, the title of your manuscript, and say "sorry, but no." Not in those exact words, but you know.

If they take the time to actually point out what they liked and didn't like? That's big.

And that's why I'm saying that yes, there are good rejection letters. When the person responding is actually making an effort, it means something. And you know what? I'm not going to give up. Because this isn't the first rejection I've ever gotten, and it sure as hell probably isn't going to be my last. I'm going to keep going.

My friend, Jelsa, from The Writing Jellyfish, told me that she got sixteen rejection letters on her novel. And now it's being published in a few months. Which means that one rejection isn't the entire world.

Here's the thing about writing: you need tough skin. You're going to get rejected, and you need to be able to accept the good and the bad, and get back onto your keyboard, and just keep writing.

Happy Fridays, ya'll.


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