Monday, October 29, 2007

Economy: Four-Word Rejection

The online hip literary journal Anderbo reaches a whole new level of keeping it simple with this rejection, sent in by a reader:

To: "zumabitch" zumabitch@xxx.com
Date: Fri, 26 Oct 2007 01:01:13 +0000
Subject: Re: Fiction Submission

Sorry, not for us.

I think many rejections can dispense with the bells and whistles, but zam...that's cold. Guess they didn't use up too much typewriter ribbon on this rejection.

15 comments:

zumabitch said...

This is why I sent it to you, WR. It simply does not get more glamorous than this. There are levels of rejection, and you are in the highest, most glittering echelon and then I, Zumabitch, am down at dogshit level being scraped off the Anderbo shoe.

the individual voice said...

Levels of rejection, like Dante's levels of hell, the level fits the sin. Perhaps another way to look at it is maybe w,r is wordy and seductive and gets baroque, s&m rejections, and you are pithy and Hemingwayesque and get the minimalism you earned. I wonder if it's that, or they just dress to match their letters that are all the same for each Rejector.

Writer, Rejected said...

As far as rejection goes, I *am* clearly into bondage. Good point!
I probably do bring it on myself.

zumabitch said...

IV, you may be on to something here. I am a minimalist. However, I do have a name and so did my story, and I'm assuming that the rejecting editor also has a name.

Regardless of fault, this type of anonymous rejection has an implication of unimportance; it's not quite at the level of no reply at all (the ultimate in facelessness), but it smacks of the irrelevance of both story and writer in the face of all that hipness.

zumabitch said...

BTW, IV, I have bookmarked your project! With a title like that, you can't go wrong.

Writer, Rejected said...

I also think the hipsters were mean with that little pebble of a response. Hey, Z, can you put a link to IV's project here? Thanx

the individual voice said...

You can get to NaNo and/or my NovelBlog via the upper right hand corner of my website. NaNo is extremely slow. I guess they are busy. The whole novel will appear on the blog IN ACTION.

Writer, Rejected said...

Here's the link for anyone interested. We'll be cheering you on.

http://despicableslushpile.blogspot.com/

TIV at Slush Pile said...

Here's me over at my Novel Blog, stuffing carbohydrates for the coming writing marathon. Whew! I'm already beat. I have zero confidence about this but the NaNo people just said tell as many people as possible so I guess I'll be shamed into finishing. Of course some of us have no shame, but I have extra.

zumabitch said...

You can have some of mine! Loads to spare.

I know of someone who won one of those NaNo things and then went on to get a deal for something completely unrelated, so you GO, TIV, and never mind the calories!

And we don't care if you're hip, square, or triangular!

the individual voice said...

Thanks, zumabitch!

Anonymous said...

What I don't get is why would an aspiring novelist / short story writer submit to journals like this? Not many people read them, their stories don't get picked for anything, and they don't pay a penny. Wouldn't you be better off submitting to places that pay for your work?

Also, after a great deal of submitting I've noticed that the smaller journals are the ones that give mean replies and/or form reject slips, while the larger commercial pubs are the ones that are more likely to actually be encouraging or at least write you something personal.

Writer, Rejected said...

There's a lot of cache in some of these small online presses. You can build an audience, and then, when you go to sell your book and they ask what your "publicity plan" is, you can list online lit journals where you've got a readership. Some people say that it's the only way to publish stories these days. And plus they are faster to reply, and you actually *can* get published there, unlike at some of the more established magazines, which really will only publish known writers and stories sent by agents.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for clarifying, WR. I sometimes saw identifiable writers contributing to these journals, and I always wondered why.

I still think this whole "business" is ridiculous, though.

I mean, the pay really sucks. But these journals don't even pay at all, so they lend themselves to the academics. I'm so insanely frustrated by the whole thing, it just feels like a vicious trap -- like the only way to get ahead is to get an MFA and then only be read by other academics also getting MFAs while the general public has never heard of you. Like "MFA" itself is the new license to literacy.

Bethany Shaffer said...

While I received more than four words (more like two sentences) I received my rejection from anderbo in a mere ten hours. I figure either no one read my submission at all or they've got a lot of bored interns who keep late hours (my submission was sent at ten p.m.). On the bright side, at least I can send my piece out to other journals without worrying about simultaneous submissions.