Sunday, December 30, 2007

Would Your Prefer A Fortune Cookie Rejection?





A reader inspired a final "question of the month" for 2007 with this letter:

I'm kind of upset about a recent form reject from FIVEPOINTS. The submission was targeted -- I actually do read their magazine, I like some of the stories in it, and what I sent was completely targeted to it and highly polished, sent out only after close analysis of what they publish. It was addressed to the editors, went out with a personalized cover letter, and so on. And in return? Well, you'll get more insight out of the paper slip you pull out of a Chinese fortune cookie ... and their cheap slip wasn't all that much bigger. But that gave me an idea, so here goes: My suggestion to them and other journals is to go ahead and run with the "fortune cookie" motif. It's cute, it speaks to their level, it's easy to mass produce, and for serious-but-undiscovered writers it helps take out the vacuity of this whole routine. They don't have to send us the cookies but maybe they should go the extra mile and print "learn Chinese" with a word on the back side, or at least give us a few lucky numbers at the bottom so we won't feel so cheated out of postage and paper and time and feel so trampled from the deal. Maybe they could list the names of a few other journals worth supporting, so we could take the advice and get some more SASEs out in the mail. I mean, I was so incensed by the cheapness and thoughtless of their tiny slip which had been sent in response to what I know is a great and well-written story that I took another close look at my issues and did some googling on the contributors. And as a result I did find out one interesting thing about FIVEPOINTS: as far I can tell every last one of their contributors are either teachers or MFA graduates, so I figure that until I become one of those I won't ever meet the needs of that magazine.

Suppose for a minute you could receive your literary rejection in some form other than an email or a letter (i.e., a cake, singing telegram, melting ice sculpture, or fortune cookie). How would you most like to receive your next rejection?

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

What, FIVE POINTS reader -- you have no MFA? How contemptible. You have no business submitting to the elite magazines. These editors are busy people.

Anonymous said...

Rejection accompanied by MFA diploma?

Anonymous said...

Either a singing cake or a truthful reveal of how anyone really wins those contests or gets published - nepotism, being related to literati, MFA R US membership fees up to date etc.

Maybe a cake that sings the truth?

Anonymous said...

Dress it up however you want, a no is still a no. I won't enjoy it any more coming from a personalized letter, a tiny slip, or a singing telegram. The tiny form slips don't bother me, it actually leaves me with less to try and analyze and interpret and make myself crazed with.

Different Anonymous said...

How about a stripper?

Anonymous said...

Funny, but the most interesting part of this contribution is the final note. Are all FIVE POINTS contributors really all connected to Academe? That is VERY revealing and I think a lot more research and work should be done in this area. The Internet can help us connect the dots...

I am becoming convinced that there is a LOT of academic funny business going on right now and the ones who "make it" are the ones who play along and/or are part of it. Academia today is VERY stifling and politically loaded, and is it a coincidence that almost ALL literary outlets are academic? (And that no one else reads?)

That is why we hear so much about "dumbed down" fiction, the lack of commercial outlets, mainsteam becoming increasingly full of porn/violence, and is probably why the publishing biz is just so lousy now.

Bev said...

I'd like to receive my next rejection written in the editor's own blood, just so's I know they truly, truly mean it.

ChickenLover said...

I'd like mine to be stomped into the snow of my front yard. Wouldn't that be creepy?

The Quoibler said...

How about a sky writer?

Happy new year!

Quoiby

Clutter Chonny said...

I think I would like an in person slap in the face. Haha...no use being passive aggressive. At least I could recover from that:)

Happy 08 guys!

Writer, Rejected said...

Yes! I love it if they had to come to your house, ring your doorbell, and slap your face every time they rejected you. Probably they'd just hire a slapping assistant, though. What a job that would be!

Anonymous said...

somtime i dont know if im goin left or right i dont understand myself sometimes. do you? what do you do for a living world? well me i work at home a home far away like Micheal Jackson you know the animals running in the forest the wind blowing feeling soooo good you know thats how i feel. how bout you?