Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Lamest Phone-Call Rejection Ever
You have me call you to get my rejection because you're too chaotically busy to write it down and send it? How about just, "Thanks. It wasn't what we were looking for." But instead you tell me you have notes to pass along from an editor who has departed and "another staffer."
So I call in for my rejection, but you start rambling about Augusten Burroughs and how his memoirs work, which is confusing because you didn't read my memoir. I am writing my memoir in fact. So I just keep listening to see where this is going, and you tell me, you probably should have someone's notes in front of you because you didn't really read much of my manuscript, but you are just insanely busy, so you're working from your memory about what was wrong with the manuscript you keep referring to as my memoir.
Finally, I can't take it anymore, so I interrupt: "Um," says I. "You asked to read my collection of published essays based on an essay that appeared in the New York Times, not my memoir. You didn't ask for my memoir. But what you read was a collection of published essays."
And what do you say? You say: "Oh."
Then there is an awkward silence in which I ought to have let you merely tread water, but I was too embarrassed and somehow co-dependent. Embarrassed for me and you and publishing in general.
So, I launch into some long rambling something (what the hell was I saying?) that ends with, "Who would really publish a book of published essays by someone who isn't famous anyway?" and "But really you are publishing some very nice works, and thanks for the consideration." (As my friend says, Aw, no, you made her feel better?)
I did. And I shouldn't have. But what, really, should I have said?
I'm thinking of two not very nice words, but you guys can probably come up with something more creative.
What would you have said?