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Friday, July 29, 2011

How to Hook an Agent

This guy got his novel published by Soft Skull Press after 61 rejections, which he gets to write about in this Huffington Post article. He says you only get one sentence to compel the agent/editor.  He says the formula is: "Show economy. be precise. hook." I like those rules because they are good guides that can be broken, as long as you know you're breaking rules and doing it well.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Electric Tears

Which would you rather have? And does it matter? And if so, why?
A. Dear Writer: We thank you for submitting your story, "Title of Work," to Electric Literature. Unfortunately, it was not chosen for publication at this time. We are committed to publishing short stories by both new and more established writers, and trust that you will consider sending us your best work in the future. Sincerely, Editors 
B. Dear Writer: We admired the prose, its spareness and lovely rhythms, though it did feel as if the narrative momentum were lagging in places, while the story revolves around the one conflict whose resolution never occurs. Not that we need to see what happens, but there needs to be more foreground than only the protag's memories and anticipations. Very compelling point of view, though. 
C. Dear Writer: We regret to say that "Title of Work" was not ultimately selected for publication in Electric Literature, although it did reach the final editorial round of an extremely competitive selection process. Thank you for submitting, Andy & Scott, Editors, Electric Literature, 325 Gold St. Suite 303 Brooklyn, NY 11201 Twitter: @electriclit

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Feel Free to Riot

Thank you for sending "Title of Story" to Word Riot. We've read it carefully. Unfortunately, we didn't feel it was quite right for us. If you have something else you think is right for our magazine, please feel free to try us again in the future. Sincerely, Word Riot

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

At Ploughshares We Enjoy You, But Not Enough

Thanks very much for submitting your work to Ploughshares. Although we regret that your manuscript does not fit our current editorial needs, we enjoyed it and hope you'll consider us again. Sincerely, The Editors
I'm convinced you need to know someone at Ploughshares (in that insular New England way of Boston) to get published there. Or maybe that's just my own personal delusion about the place.

Monday, July 25, 2011

From Today's eBag

Hi Mr. Literary Rejection: Just thought you might wanna know, I received a copy of the latest Bellingham Review (didn't win anything last year, didn't even place) and I read Jacob Appel's "Bait and Switch" which won the Tobias Wolff Award in 2010. Honestly, I was unimpressed. Depressingly this was a rather pedestrian piece of short fiction. Think Judy Blume's "Summer Sisters" meets early Neil Simon only much duller. I don't even think it would have made it into one of the many short story anthologies I had to plow through in college as a liberal arts undergrad. I think this short story winner sort of re-affirms my suspicion that the whole literary anthology awards thing is just a shell game for MFA candidates and other suckers. Sincerely, [Name Redacted--We're anonymous around here]
p.s. I kind of liked Appel's piece.  What do you think?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fully Committed

This was sent in by an LROD Mouse, who says of the rejection, "I particularly like how appreciative they are about my commitment to quality":
Thank you for giving us the chance to consider “Title” 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

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The H Word

It wasn't my favorite book, but people I know and love seem to really like it. Here's a story about how it came to be, including some rejections.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

77 Solutions

This guy has 77 ways to solve your problem. Bully for him! Or if that doesn't work, perhaps praying with him will.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Don't Take Any Wooden Rejections

Thank you for sending us "Title of Work". We really enjoyed this work, but we must return it to you at this time. We hope that you will continue to send us your work. Sincerely, The Editors of Copper Nickel

Monday, July 18, 2011

Fiddle-De-Dee on A Saturday

The anonymous receiver of this rejection noted that the rejection came back within 14 hours of submission...on a Saturday:

From: Fiction Editor 
Date: Sun, 17 Jul 2011
To: Anonymous

Subject: Your Submission to The Fiddleback

Dear Contributor: Thank you for submitting to The Fiddleback. Unfortunately, your work does not meet our needs at this time. Given the volume of submissions we receive, it is impossible to respond personally, although we read each submission carefully and weigh our decisions fully. We thank you for the opportunity to read your work and hope you will continue to support the magazine. Sincerely, The Editors

Thursday, July 14, 2011

New York Times Declares Books Dead--Sort Of

Well, this was an entertaining/depressing article by Bill Keller about how worthless it is to write book.  Oy. Update: Got a e-note from Agent99 saying she's been swamped and not able to get to my novel rewrite, but my manuscript is up next for her. Fingers crossed, everybody. Hope to hear soon.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Subject Object Confusion

A friend of mine posted this rejection note on her blog: "I really liked the concept but the story missed its chance to connect with me." Um, what? Who missed what? Or what missed whom? Or...huh? Get it together, people.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Remember This: Not All Rejections Are Correct

After listening to a little musical group called The Beatles in 1962, the Decca Recording Company wrote the following rejection:
We don't like their sound. Groups of guitars are on the way out.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Sitting on the Fence

Remember the drama at Fence a few years ago? Ah, for the good old/bad old days of publishing. Anyway, here are some choice Fence rejections, proving that the tier is alive and well.
1) Thank you for sending us "[title]." We appreciated having the chance to read it, but feel that the piece is not for us.  Thanks again. Sincerely, Fence Editors
2) Thank you for sending us "[title]." We appreciated the chance to consider it, but it didn't work for Fence. Sincerely, The Fence Editors
3) Thank you for sending "[title]" for our consideration.  While we are not going to publish it, we enjoyed it quite a bit and wish to encourage you to submit again.   Please visit and sign up for our email newsletter for notification of our next reading period. Sincerely, Fence
4) Thank you for sending us "[title]." This particular piece was not a right fit for Fence, but we were very impressed by your writing.  We hope you will feel encouraged by this short note to send us something else.  We look forward to reading more. Sincerely, The Editors of Fence 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

No Tingles Rejection

Found this one while sifting through some emails the other day.  It's a couple of years old, but still an interesting one:
Dear [  ]: Thanks for giving me a peek at your novel, [  ]. I think it's clear that you're a wonderful writer, and I like the energy of your emails. But it comes down to this: In the end, I just didn't get the tingles about this one. And in this ultra-tough marketplace, I've got to be head over heels in love with something in order to take it on. I'm sorry I don't have better news, but I'm glad to hear you have others looking at it, and I hope someone falls in love with it soon. Best of luck, and take care. Kindest Regards, Danielle Chiotti

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Quick Fiction Rejection

Jennifer Pieroni is a smart, perky editor. I like her little magazine, and I even like her rejection. Or maybe I'm just in a good mood today:
With hundreds of literary magazines to choose from, we're truly honored that you selected Quick Fiction! We're sorry to say, however, that we were not able to place your work in this issue. We wish you the best in placing it elsewhere. Regards, Jennifer Pieroni, Editor in Chief

Friday, July 1, 2011

Orion Gives Good Form Letter

At Orion, the editors hire someone to thank you on their behalf for your gripping, memorable story. You have a strong voice, whoever you are. Your narrative is gritty, no matter who you are.
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to consider your manuscript. This is a gripping and memorable story; the voice is strong and the narrative gritty, raw, and evocative. This piece is not quite a fit for Orion, but please look for fiction forthcoming in the magazine and submit again in the future, if you would like. We wish you the best in placing this work elsewhere and appreciate your consideration of our magazine as a home for your writing. Sincerely, Erica Dorpalen, for the Editorial Staff
p.s. Do you also think people are making it up when they say they can see "Orion, The Hunter" in all those flecks of star dust in the sky? I think it's a conspiracy.