Imagine, if you will, a writer of dubious talent opening his email and finding a subject line that looks something like this: RE [Awesome Stories of Awesomeness] Aeryn’s Awesome Story. The author sees this email and thinks, “Great, another rejection letter. That’s the eighth one this week.” He opens the email, girding himself for yet another “does not meet our current needs” or “we’ll have to pass” or “go fuck yourself, you worthless hack.” Instead, he sees strange words in the first sentence that combine to make weird, alluring phrases like, “we loved it” and “publish in our next issue.” Then it hits him. He pees a little, thrusts his fist into the air, looses what he thinks is a manly roar of triumph, and scares the shit out of his wife who thinks he’s having a stroke (he kind of is).
Yup, kiddies, let’s talk about that rarest of rare birds, the glorious, treasured acceptance letter.
Here’s one of mine, removed just this morning from its hermetically sealed display case so you might marvel at its loveliness:
Thank you for sending us “XXX”. We love it and would like to publish it in the next issue of XXX. Your contract is included in this email. Please accept the contract by following the link at the bottom of this email and include your 100 word bio in the Requested Information box. We’ll send an email with editorial suggestions two to three weeks before the issue publication date.
Thank you for your submission and we look forward to working with you!
I won’t lie; finding one of these little gems in your inbox can make your whole day. Previous rejections are forgotten, and the future seems a bright, welcoming place filled with adoring fans and phrases like “award-winning” and “best seller.” But, hold your horses there, champ; you’ve still got work to do. Because, even though a publisher likes your story enough to publish it, there are still plenty of opportunities to fuck this up. How do you fuck this up? By falling prey to SSD (special snowflake disorder) or FTFFD (failure to follow fucking directions).
You’ll notice along with the nice things they said about my story and the fact they’re willing to publish it, they’ve also given me some instructions. Every acceptance letter will do that. Publications need certain things beside your story to publish your piece. What this one asks for is very standard. They want me to sign a contract, and they want me to send them a short bio (we’ll discuss those things in later posts). When should you get these things to the publisher? As soon as humanly possible. Trust me, editors don’t like waiting on authors whom they’ve graciously agreed to publish to follow simple instructions. So get on it, and get them what they need.
Got a recent acceptance letter you’d like to share with the class? I’d love to see it in the comments.