Rejection Letters: Then and Now

By “Then and Now” I mean MY rejection letters. This is a fond end of the year look back at ALL the rejection letters I’ve received over the last year and half since I’ve started querying any agents or literary magazines.

My first rejection letter was a painful one. Of course, it was a rejection, my first. So that by itself is heartbreaking. But on top of that, in June of 2012 (yes, LAST year…get over it), it’s what this agent said:

“You had a very intriguing premise, but your writing was a bit choppy. I wish you the best of luck.”

Basically: you’re writing isn’t good. And please, please, PLEASE don’t waste my time next go round.  To be fair, this agent was correct. That draft I sent them should never have been sent. I was a youngin!

The next year came with little better to report. Though I rarely received such criticism, I received 6 full length form rejection letters. Those make up about 1/3 of the query letters I sent out. The other heaven only knows how many just disappeared into the ether of the slush piles on countless desks around the country.

But the last few months have changed things. I’ve started sending out short stories and poetry to literary magazines (online and traditional alike). The responses have been mixed. However, they are moving in the right direction.

Two weeks ago I received 5 in one week. 3 of those 5 came with “please submit again in the future.”

One who does not submit writings for anything to anyone might not take this as a positive development. But, as anyone will tell you, if they don’t want to hear from you again, they will tell you so. These 3 told me, “Meh, not this one. But please submit again.”

OK, the “meh” was my addition.

The Acceptance Letter:

That’s right. As many of you know, one of those responses came back with a “Yes. We’d be happy to include your work in our upcoming issue.” For bragging rights proof, here’s a link to that awesomeness.

All in all, a good year. Once things got started.

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