Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Missouri Review Invitation/Non-Invitation

An LROD reader wants us to do an analysis of the following two rejections from Missouri Review, both currently being sent out as form letters:

1) Thank you for submitting [story name] to The Missouri Review. Though it doesn't meet our current needs, we appreciate the opportunity to consider it for publication. We wish you the best of luck in placing it elsewhere. Sincerely, The Editors

2) Thank you for giving us the chance to consider [story name] for publication in The Missouri Review. Though it does not fit our current needs, we appreciate your interest in our magazine and your commitment to quality writing. We wish you the best of luck publishing your work and hope you’ll consider sending us more in the future. Sincerely, The Editors

Our friend's friend received form letter #1 and our friend received form letter #2. I'd say that they tier their rejections at MR, wouldn't you?


Anonymous said...

I've wondered about this myself. I went back through my emails and I've gotten four of these rejections with variations of both of these responses, only mine have critiques with my story included. So, for example (and this one's from a couple years ago and somewhat edited):

"Thank you for giving us the chance to consider “XXXX” for publication in The Missouri Review. Though it does not fit our current needs, we appreciate your interest in our magazine.

Although we could not accept your story at this time, we do believe your writing displays great talent. The concept made for a compelling read. We wish you the best of luck publishing your work and hope you’ll consider sending us more in the future."

I have others that go into detail about certain reservations. I thought that's just what they did since you have to pay a small fee to submit, Or maybe it's the intern being nice. I don't know.
I kind of with they'd stick to a single form, but a rejection's a rejection anyway so I guess it doesn't matter.

Christopher said...

My cynical side tells me you get the "send us more in the future" letter when you submit on-line, which requires a $3 fee.

BTW, my all time favorite rejection, from the Atlantic Review: no letter, no slip, no actual words. Just the faintest pencil mark on the cover page in the elegent shape of the letter "R." No need to elaborate, says it all!

Libra said...

My first thought when reading the line "...and your commitment to quality writing," was that our friend is an editor on another journal, or sent a cover letter listing very elite publishing credits, or that s/he submits often and they have enough samples to conclude that our fried is indeed committed to quality writing. You couln't judge something as weighty as a commitment from one sample.

And friend of friend? Just another faceless submission that wasn't right for the magazine at this time. They don't know enough about him/her to judge if there is a commitment to quality writing, and because the world is full of weirdos, they are hesitant to encourage more submissions from someone they don't know.

I wouldn't say that Friend got a warmer rejection than FoF because his/her story was better, but because s/he is more of a known quantity than FoF. FoF should not get too down hem/herself, and Friend should not be too smug. They're both equally not getting published in the next issue :)

The Very Minor Writer said...

i had a short story pubbed in MR in the last few years after three (if I remember corectly) rejections. all were submitted electronically. the first rejection was something like #2 here, the second had a note from an intern/reader quoting something very positive speer morgan had said about the story, and the third had a longer note explaining the story was very good but with one or two things wrong. and then, out of the blue, i got a personal e-mail from speer morgan saying, we know your good, keep submitting.
then with the next story the acceptance, a moment of fist pumping, and $400 or so dollars upon publication. so it goes . . .
on the fate of the rejected stories: one was 20,000 words and remains unpublished, another was published in a higher profile venue, and I can't remember the other one which probably means it wasn't published.

Anonymous said...

I've received both of those rejections from Missouri Review from electronic submissions. Seems most of the journals I submit to have tiered rejections similar to these--sort of standard procedure, really. Not a lot to analyze, just an indication that this story went further/was liked a bit better than this other one.

Lit J said...

If these are tiered, it's not much of a tier. I actually think both of these are bottom tier.

A 2nd tier rejection has to say something like "We really enjoyed this story" or some other praise. This just says, "We hope you'll send us more," which appears on a number of bottom tier rejections.

Without any praise, this are equal rejections.

Dennis the Vizsla said...

Interesting. I may have to go pull my Missouri Review rejections and see what I got. Oh, wait, I think I already posted it ... ummm ... okay, mine was neither of those. But mine is also quite old.

Kathryn Paterson said...

The personal handwritten notes are always the best. What I do like about TMR is that they do tend to critique manuscripts when they feel the writing is of quality. I've gotten a couple of positive rejection letters from them before, both with very specific comments about where the story is good and where it falls short. I've also had a couple of electronic rejections from other magazines that flat out stated "This is not our standard rejection. Please send us more of your work," which made me feel very good.

Of course, I'm still as of yet unpublished. Dang it!

Anonymous said...

Ayayay...comparing tiers of FORM rejections is like a pissing match between two dehydrated people. Let me call this one for you: you both lost.

On a tangent, I was just thinking that if Glimmer Train tiers form rejections, then the highest tier must use the fewest words, i.e., it doesn't come with the PDF English primer.

The Very Minor Writer said...

my Glimmer Train rejections have been impersonal of the Dear Writer variety. I can't get any traction with that thoroughly readable magazine, even with stories that have ended up in equally good places after their rejection. this is such a subjective business you can't read anything into a rejection. no means no. that's all it means. critiques are only meaningful if accompanied by the line "we would love to see this again."
onward! as junkers says

Anonymous said...

Don't get me started on GT. Are the contests any easier-to get an finalist if not a win then the general submission category?

Anonymous said...

I just got a story accepted by The Missouri Review after (I think) two previous rejections. The first was some sort of form rejection (I don't remember of what variety) and the second was a form rejection with a handwritten note saying "I'd suggest sending more." No name signed. But I think anything beyond a form rejection is encouraging - I've noticed that stories of mine that get any sort of personal response often go on to be published elsewhere (of course, I've been published a total of, like, three times, so I'm not exactly an expert). What I'm saying, I guess, is that you should be proud of yourself and encouraged by the response, should you get something of that nature! And keep submitting! Yay!