Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Editors on Rejection

Kelly Spitzer is making a splash in our rejected world. Today in a blog entry entitled "Get Real: Editors Speak About Rejection Letters", she asks a bunch of editors, "Some literary magazine editors often critique stories they reject. Other literary magazine editors seldom or never critique stories they reject. Editors, what is your practice (or policy) here?"

Here's what they say:

Dave Clapper is the founding editor of SmokeLong Quarterly: "He occasionally writes, most recently appearing in FRiGG and forthcoming in Per Contra.At SmokeLong, we rarely critique stories we reject. We may offer a little extra encouragement if the writer was close to an acceptance or if we have a pre-existing relationship with the writer, but I’m hard-pressed to think of the last time we actually critiqued a piece we were rejecting."

Matt DiGangi is editor of Thieves Jargon: "Unless you can read minds, it’s useless to try and write rejection letters that every writer is going to be pleased with. As such, I think an editor should be more concerned with getting responses out to their writers as soon as possible."

Vanessa Gebbie is a writer, editor and creative writing teacher: "How possible is it to comment on all submissions? My guess is that it is not. And the more of a 'cult' magazine you are, the less possible it is. And therefore, only the chosen few writers can expect to have anything other than form rejects. The ones that come close but for some reason just miss, I hope fervently get a few words of encouragement… and those are the ones I would comment on myself."

Kelly Spitzer is a writer and an editor with SmokeLong Quarterly: "I’m still trying to figure out how to write rejection letters. They are freaking HARD, I tell you. Seriously, I have spent a good deal of time trying to word the little bastards. Especially when the piece has come close to acceptance. Why aren’t we accepting it then, I’m sure the writer wants to know."

That Spitzer, she's a spitfire. So, go on over and check it out for more.


TIV: the individual voice said...

Quite the spitfire indeed. Are you sure she was referring to the letter when using the term "the little bastards"? Is her subconscious sure? Anyway, W.R., I have a little gift for you over at my main blog, the title of the post being "Dear Writer Rejected." Hope you like it.

Kelly Spitzer said...

Yes, I was referring to rejection letters, and yes, my subconscious is sure. :)

TIV: The Individual Voice said...

Well, the letters, yes, I think we can all agree, editors and writers alike, they are indeed little bastards.

WW said...

Please. I have a hard time believing that anyone puts that much thought and effort into a rejection letter. At least, none that I've ever gotten looked like anyone had made the slightest effort.

Anonymous said...

There is a way to have your letters to the editor published. At you can send a letter to the editor of almost any newspaper in the world. Even if they don't print it, you can post it on the site.