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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Ohio Review, Old Rejection

Unfortunately, the work you submitted is not right for us, but we are grateful for the opportunity to consider it, and we wish you the best of luck in placing it elsewhere. Best Wishes, The Editors

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Rejection that Dare Not Utter its Purpose

The person receiving this cryptic rejection from the Santa Monica Review writes: This one really bugs me.. because, as you'll notice, they never actually get around to rejecting me.
Dear Writer: We don't know of anyone who hasn't had work returned at one time or another, but that certainly doesn't make it easier. We hope you will find consolation in the individuality of editorial tastes and in the assurance that with persistence, good work will be recognized as such. Thank you for trying us. The Editors

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sorry to Report

Dear Author: Thank you for submitting to Chicago Review. We're sorry to report that we are not going to publish your story. Good luck placing it elsewhere.     The Editors

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Santa Monica and Hitler

An LROD loyalist sent in this note from on a returned/rejected story submitted to the Santa Monica Review. I guess the editor likes egomaniacal genocidal historical figures? The author of the story is taking the comment to mean, "Send more work."  I think that's a good enough interpretation.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Our Token Respect

Never pay retail, darling.
Dear Writer's Name,
     Thank you for sending "Title of Story" to Fourteen Hills: The San Francisco State Review. We have considered your submission and, unfortunately, it isn't a match for our current issue. Many authors of original and well-crafted pieces will receive this letter. Please don't let this deter you from submitting in the future, and, in the meantime, subscribing to Fourteen Hills.
     As a token of our respect for your work, we would like to offer you a reduced subscription rate of 15% off. We know this is a small condolence, but we hope you take us up on our offer.You can request the subscription at this link. Thanks again. Best of luck with your work. Sincerely, Stephanie Doeing, Fourteen Hills

Monday, January 23, 2012

Palooka Digs Your Style

Dear [Writer's Name],

Thank you for sending us "Title of Story." We enjoyed reading your work but are sorry to say we're unable to use it at this time. However, we dig your writing style and would like to see more submissions from you in the future. We realize how much time, effort, passion, and energy goes into each piece of writing and appreciate your interest in Palooka.

NOTE: I didn't feel there was enough to this story, too short, but I think you have a real strength in your voice. --

Palooka Journal Editor

Friday, January 20, 2012

Competitive and Thorough

Lest you think they at New Plains are blowing their noses on your 2,500-word story.  It makes you want to be a part of the process, doesn't it? Do they pick the story they want to publish and then arm wrestle to see what goes in the review? Well, anyhoodle, at least you have been thoroughly vetted and tossed aside. GFY.
Dear Writer: Thank you for sending your fiction for our consideration. After a competitive and thorough review process, we have decided not to use your material in our upcoming issue. We wish you the best of luck in all of your future endeavors. Sincerely, Kellea Ingram, Editor in Chief, New Plains Review

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Hill of Salt, Pile of Beans

This writer had recently gotten her story accepted elsewhere, and had written politely to withdraw said story from Salt Hill, where it was still under simultaneous consideration.  Apparently, however, Salt Hill prefers not to miss an opportunity to reject, so they sent a rejection out anyway a few weeks later.
Thank you very much for your recent submission to Salt Hill. Regrettably, we are unable to publish it at this time. Please know that we take very seriously the job of reading all submissions that come our way, and we’re grateful that you would consider our journal when sending your writing out for publication. We remain thankful for your support and wish you the best of luck placing this work elsewhere. All the best, The Editors
Translation: Back at you, baby; we didn't want it anyway.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

P.S. Note To Self

“Never, never be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”

-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Mom says "There were many untruths"

So, shall we discuss family reactions to published writings? Talk about rejection! I just got back from a visit to my family's homestead. Boy, did I ever get an earful. The funny thing is that their big complaint is not even about anything very important or primary to the piece.  It's my view on guns that pisses them off. They want to quibble about details, like did my father ever really give me a gun, and if so, why did they never see a rifle wrapped up under the Christmas tree with my name on it.  (In fact, he'd taken me out shooting and tried to give me the rifle then, but I refused to take it...can I help it that my mother wasn't there as a witness. No one was there. But does that mean it didn't happen or that I am a liar?)  Also, they say that anyone walking into our house would not have known there were guns in the house, that my father locked his office where the rifle display cabinets were, keeping it closed, and that the guns in the closets and under the beds were upstairs where no one went. But does this mean that they were not still there? My point was that those of us who lived there (hello?) knew there were guns in the house. My father used to shoot out the window at squirrels....and we lived in the thickly settled suburbs. (The neighbors used to complain because they had little kids and my friggin' Dad was shooting out the bedroom windows.) I think it's my brother's NRA-point that's influencing the complaint. In his opinion, we lived in a gun-responsible house; guns were not lying around! My point is, holy crap, there are guns everywhere in this joint! Anyway, the thing about families is that they will focus on the little things so they can say your writing is a lie, in order to ignore the big things.  Like, how about:  "Wow it really sucks what happened to you." Or "I never realized how painful this whole disinheritance thing must have been for you. I'm sorry, dude."
    What I learned this weekend is that it's hard for them to understand that everyone in that house was a separate person with a separate opinion and a separate experience and a separate perspective. That's practically a revolutionary idea to them. Write up one of those perspectives and put it in a prominent publication, and you are practically the one holding the gun all of a sudden. I guess that's what they don't like.  As Alice Walker says, "I am a girl, so I do not get a gun."  (Also the epigraph in my first published book.)
    In other news, some interest in the book proposal with a phone call being scheduled this week and some additional sample chapters being sent around. I will keep you posted.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Before the Rejection Communication

Enterprising to get this out of the way, while the writer is still hopeful.  I like cake and trains.
Dear [Writer's Name]:
Caketrain has received your submission for Issue 10 (slated for publication in 2012) and will respond in the months to come; today, we write to let you know how grateful and heartened we are to be chosen as a potential home for your work. The greatest privilege of assuming our modest role in the publishing world has always been the opportunity to read the unpublished works of talents from around the world, and with that in mind, we want you to know that we are honored by your interest in our publication.
We are also writing to tell you that the just-released Caketrain Issue 09 is now available for order at Below, we've provided a few quick reasons why we hope you'll purchase this title.
1. Your patronage helps to support and secure the longevity of Caketrain.
We at Caketrain do not solicit donations, nor is our operation financed by grants or endowments, nor are we the affiliate of any educational institution or larger arts initiative. This means that the only way we can keep the project going is to sell as many books as we can to readers and writers like you. And $9—with free shipping in the U.S.—is a steal for what we offer. Which leads us to the other point—
2. You'll get a great book in the mail.
Featuring 274 pages of fine work from over thirty contributors and bound with gorgeous cover art by illustrator Michael Paukner, Issue 09 is full of the challenging, exciting work you've come to expect from Caketrain. Contributors for this outing include Daniel Grandbois, Joe Hall, Chad Hardy, Kate Rutledge Jaffe, Michael Kimball, Alec Niedenthal, Kathryn Rantala, Joanna Ruocco and many more.
To find out more—and to read over 40 pages of samples from Issue 09—please visit, and when you're ready to place an order, you'll find a number of different options available. We like to think that this is a proposition that will benefit both of us: you'll get great new literature in the mail at a reasonable price, and you'll help Caketrain to continue, so that we can retain the privilege of reading and considering the work of writers like you
With ceaseless gratitude, we remain
Yours sincerely,
Amanda and Joseph

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Someone's Having a Good New Year

This anony-mouse has been diligently sending out submissions and receiving rejections and sending them kindly to me all year. Check out the date of this acceptance. Way to have a good New Year! Such fun to post an acceptance once in a while! Let's congratulate the hard work and stick-to-it-ness of this fine writing friend of ours:

From: Raleigh Review Fiction
Date: December 30, 2011
Subject: Your submission to the raleigh review

Dear [Name Redacted]: Thank you for submitting to TRR. We read and really enjoyed "Title" and would like to feature it in our magazine. If the work is still available for publication please sign the contract attached to this mail and return it to us. Also, kindly send us an electronic version of the story attached to this email address. We look forward to hearing from you. Best, Smriti

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Today is the Day

I've been keeping my head down because Secret Agent Man and I have been working like dogs to get my non-fiction book proposal ready. Today it goes out into the world to 12 lucky, lucky editors. It's weird too because, peeps, I'll tell you, you work on a novel for over a decade and that's what you start to believe is going to be the thing that strikes out there in your name, on your behalf, as your work. But, alas, the novel is resting right now. Maybe all this flurry from the nonfiction project will pave the way for it. Or maybe not. The more I'm in this business the more I realize that I am not in control of this ride....or of anything. I just hope for inspiration and the wherewithal to get the words on the page, and whatever happens after that is a big effing mystery. Sometimes a very depressing mystery, sometimes the kind that blows your skirt up and knocks you out. There seems to be no telling. I'll keep you posted on the progress of the book proposal.
     I can tell you this, though, non-fiction feels very different from fiction. First of all, people seem to want nonfiction. Still, it's not as intimate or, I don't know, as heart-wrenching/-warming as fiction is--at least for this writer. Also nonfiction feels more business-y; kind of like my consulting work. But maybe that's good; I seemed to have figure out a formula for writing what sells and makes people happy in that realm. Maybe I can think of all the potential readers of this nonfiction book as my clients. There's an idea. Anyway, who the hell knows? I hope it all works out the way it's supposed to...or whatever.
     Are you mice all having a very happy New Year so far? Keep sending in your rejections and acceptances, and I will post as they come in. It's cool to know what's happening for you.

Friday, January 6, 2012

What is the Sea God Telling You?

This article by Matt Love over at Powell's Book Blog should cheer us up for the New Year of rejection. At the very least, it means you are alive as a writer.  That's saying something, people.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Someone Made a New Year's Resolution

An LROD reader wrote in and sent this rejection, which was received on January 4th, 2012. When was the story submitted? January 2nd, 2012. New Year's Resolution at ThreePenny or a new ambitious intern who is going to burn through the slush pile? You decide:
We have considered your submission carefully, and unfortunately we are not able to use it in The Threepenny Review. Please do not take this as a comment on the quality of your writing; we receive so many submissions that we are able to accept only a small fraction of them.Thank you for sending your work to us, and please accept our apologies for the automated message system. We wish we had time to reply to everyone individually. The Editors

Monday, January 2, 2012

2012 Rejections to Start the Year Off

A warm New Year's rejection for you, little anony-mouselettes:
Thank you for your submission. Having read it carefully, we don't feel it's the right fit for SUBTROPICS. Although we will not be publishing this piece, we appreciate the opportunity to read your work. Sincerely, The Editors