Tuesday, May 13, 2008

VQR Rejection


An anonymous LROD reader, sends us this fuel for our recent fire:

Dear [name of rejected writer]:

Thanks for your recent submission to VQR. While the piece had obvious merit it just doesn't fit our needs at present. We wish we could offer a more personal response to your submission, but the number of manuscripts we receive makes this impossible. Please know, however, that we've read your work and appreciate your interest in our journal. Please do keep us in mind in the future.

Best regards,
The Editors


Says our rejected friend: "I sent this not even four days ago and I got a rejection, which makes me blatantly hate the journal even more. Why don't they just have their rejections instead say, "We wish we could read your work, but the number of manuscripts makes this impossible." At least then they'd be being honest. Anyway, thought I'd share."

BTW, keep reading the stories Ted Genoways posted. We don't want to look like schmoes, or anything, do we?

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Everyone talks about the editors/agents being honest about what they think. What about holding the same accountability for the slew anonymous writers who comment on this blog? What's honest about that? I think the whole tenor of this blog would be different. If anyone would dare to comment at all.

elizabeth said...

ok. i will read those specific stories. but what i saw online in the current vqr is just so biased and discriminatory. just awful. does anyone at university of virginia know this magazine exists? what do they say?

Jade Park said...

Hey take heart. :) The letter included the phrase "While the piece had obvious merit...."--my rejection letter from VQR didn't have that particular phrase.

BTW--I've now collected enough rejection letters in the past 6-9 months that I think I will take a picture of all of them and post them up. It should be pretty awesome.

anonymissus said...

What Jade said. I didn't get the "obvious merit" thing on my rejection from VQR either. I'm going to guess that's because my piece had more subtle, aka invisible, merit.

puc said...

WR... Check it out: http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/05/how_to_outsource_the_slush_pil.html

Minnie Mouse said...

Interesting link puc provided. Here it is, clickable:

How to Outsource the Slush Pile

puc said...

...yeah, here's some more, i got over at maud's:
http://gawker.com/389899/how-to-never-get-published#c5664799

But you know what? these gowker commenters should go to school over here:
http://twentymajor.net/
Check it out...

Anonymous said...

Very interesting link. Interesting because it's different than what's going on now. But not too different -- now it's the consensus of internal committees who make the decisions. Here it's the groupthink of a web site. Both are grotesque and result in vapidity.

This is like Zoetrope Studio. A few publishers (in UK?) tried this already. I think an agency even tried it. I don't have links handy, but I do remember some kind of "manuscript pool" that was supposed to revolutionize everything last year. Or maybe it was 2006.

Anyway, I'm so tired of this trendy Web 2.0 idea of "democracy," pushing groupthink and mobrule into every corner of our lives, when what we clearly need is the benevolent direction of a legitimate and qualified authority. Of which these publishers obviously admit they no longer are.

m. said...

Having been on the reading end of a few slush piles in my day, I can safely say that a four day turnaround time doesn't necessarily mean the piece wasn't read. There were days when a piece would come in, I would read it immediately for whatever reason, and have the response in the mail that afternoon. There were other days when I was going through submissions that were over a year old. There is absolutely no rhyme or reason to it. But almost every piece gets at least a cursory read, because no one wants to be the jackass who failed to pull Hemingway 2.0 out of the slush pile.

Writer Reading said...

It seems to me there is no way to please a rejected writer, which is why editors are wise to go for minimalism in their reject letters. They really don't want to get into a conversation about the content and I don't blame them. If you give too much information, you get the manuscript back with revisions even if you don't want it back. The ones who say any more than the minimum are courting disaster, as we have seen over and over in mocking those letters that blather on about soothing hurt feelings on this blog. Yes, anonymous, the groupthink slush approach was tried elsewhere within the last year and was discussed somewhere on this blog and was quickly and wisely squashed. It's an idiotic idea that ends up voting for the lowest common denominator rather than something that might be new, risque, controversial. What's needed are more creative and visionary editors with assistants
who aren't just looking for more of the same but actually get approval for taking risks, questioning authority and not just picking and rejecting manuscripts by the book, so to speak.

puc said...

wr: well said.

puc said...

wr: well said.

Anonymous said...

wr: i ditto puc: well said.

seems like more writers than ever. more journals too, but less high profile pubs. less slots open to newbies. editors must have to deal with mountains of subs. you can't get personal with submitters. but there's also a feeling that there's something wrong right now with publishing. there is a hemingway 2.0 out there. a fitzgerald 2.0 as well. and they wouldn't have a chance in the current climate of obscure journals and all their biases and assumptions which need to be soundly questioned.