Thursday, December 4, 2008

An LROD Rejection Proposal

A lot of readers have suggested that I get off my fat ass and do something useful about the problematic rejection situation of the postmodern world. Usually, I just laugh it off, and whine some more, but recently I was sifting around the Internet, and I found this incredibly cool cartoon  form rejection (scroll down after the click to find it) from Raw Magazine, the comics anthology that launched the likes of Art Spiegelman and Robert Crumb, among others.  So with thanks to those cool dudes, I thought I'd try to adapt it for our literary purposes.

See what you think of my proposal for an all-out standardized punch-list rejection form, useful, I submit, in any rejection situation:

Dear _____________ [fill in writer's actual name]:

Sorry this is a form letter, but: 
 we reject hundreds of manuscripts a day
 we are really, really exhausted right now, not to mention a little lazy
 we're rude as all hell, and make no apologies about it
 that's life

We don't feel your submission is appropriate for us at this time because: 
 your writing style is inadequate at the most basic level. (Have you considered taking a writing class somewhere?)
 your writing style is technically good, but you don't have anything to say;  you should get some real life experience, or find a better topic
 we don't care for this particular story at all; would anyone?
 your story is proficient, but it's not to our liking
 we are speechless, but not in a good way

Your style is nice, but would probably be better placed elsewhere because:
 it's too long for us
 it's the wrong genre for us
 it's the wrong format for us
 we have high standards and think you can make this much better
 we think the only way to get this thing published is via self-publication

 we do like your characters 

 we appreciate your concept 
 we dig your plot 
 we admire your writing 
 we marvel at your diabolical brain 
 we are fond of your metaphors 
 we approve your font choice

 Perhaps you should submit this to: _________________________________________________
(list as many appropriate alternates as possible)

 your family and friends only; there's nothing wrong with that

In the meantime, be assured that:
 we'd like to see more of your work as you continue to develop your craft
 if you write something that better fits our style and requirements, we'd be happy to take a look
 we're just another bunch of bozos on the bus; what do we know?
 we think you need to go back to the drawing board before you submit another story here, or anywhere, even to your mom
 we think you're close to getting your work published; don't give up now
 you really should never try us again; we won't change our minds about you

Finally, please keep in mind that:
 your work is good, so you shouldn't be discouraged
 your work is far off the mark, so you should be discouraged
 one more rejection shouldn't make or break you;if you're a writer at heart (and we suspect you are), you'll learn to embrace rejection as a natural state of being

If your work is not enclosed with this note and you want it returned:
 please contact ____________________________________ in our office via email only
 send return postage
 accept our apology because we've lost the damn thing

Your most humble publishing servant,

[signature here]
Revision ideas are welcome.  If you approve, maybe we'll try to get it accepted as standard.  I think it would reduce rejection time and humbly offer potentially useful information to writers. It would be interesting to get feedback from writers, as well as editors, agents, and literary journal publishers, don't you think?


Joy said...

Good but you have to include the "we're out of money/can't afford to publish you/going under from lack of subscribers, ads, grant money and only accepted your submission to keep up appearances" option.

Chris Redding said...

I actually like it. Think anyone will bite?

Anonymous said...

I like it, but I think you should add something like this rejection from a Chinese Economic Journal -

"We have read your manuscript with boundless delight. If we were to publish your paper, it would be impossible for us to publish any work of a lower standard. As it is unthinkable that, in the next thousand years, we shall see its equal, we are, to our regret, compelled to return your divine composition, and to beg you a thousand times to overlook our short sight and timidity."

Native_Ink said...

Even though it's a joke, your form letter provides a bazillion-percent more feedback than the rejections I've received recently.

Anonymous said...

How about this one?
Sorry this is a form letter, but:
 we reject hundreds of manuscripts a day and sorry to say yours is one of them.
 that's life but keep a chin up, look what happen to that guy who wrote half the new testament. Or was that the Apostle Paul? Either way, if think one of them was crucified upside down so your life’s got to be better than that. Right?

Anonymous said...

You don't know how close I am in sending out something like this.

Anonymous said...

So cool! I will now print this on to a postcard and send as an SAE with submissions to publishers ;)