Well, damn, I thought sevens were supposed to be lucky. Yep, “Story X” has received its seventh rejection, and it looks a little something like this.
Thank you for sending us “Story X”. Unfortunately, this piece is not for us. We wish you the best of luck finding a home for it.
If you have other work which you feel we may be interested in, please do not hesitate to submit it to us.
This is one of those common form rejections that kind of feels like an improved form rejection, but I don’t think it is. Remember, my criteria for an improved form rejection is a request to send more work. The last line of this letter kind of looks like that, but if you read closely, there really isn’t a request in there. I’ve seen this slightly ambiguous phrasing on a number of rejection letters, and I believe it’s just another of the myriad ways editors employ to soften the blow of rejection.
Well, folks, we’re getting down to the nitty-gritty. “Story X” has three more shots at publication before I hang it up and post the story on the blog. I’ve identified the last three publication I’m going to submit to, and one of them has published me before, so there’s hope yet.
Got a rejection you’d like to share with the class? Put it in the comments, and we’ll overanalyze it together.
Previous Real-Time Rejection Posts
Intro: Real-Time Rejection: The Journey of “Story X”
Part 1: Real-Time Rejection: The 1st Rejection of “Story X”
Part 2: Real-Time Rejection: The 2nd Rejection of “Story X”
Part 3: Real-Time Rejection: The 3rd Rejection of “Story X”
Part 4: Real-Time Rejection: The 4th Rejection of “Story X”
Part 5: Real-Time Rejection: The 5th Rejection of “Story X”
Part 6: Real-Time Rejection: The 6th Rejection of “Story X”
Well, since this came in today, here you go. They gave me a few lines of personal feedback, which appears to be common for this market.
Thank you for sending us “ABC”. We appreciate the chance to read it. Unfortunately, the piece is not for us. We receive many submissions and can only accept a small fraction for publication. I do wish you luck placing this story elsewhere.
In an effort to provide you something helpful, I thought I would pass along some observations from the review staff. Keep in mind as you read their comments that they…
1. won’t catch everything
2. are not given to fawning praise
3. aren’t perfect. Some of them struggle with the same issues in their own writing.
4. assume that authors will take their words in the spirit they are given: to improve your chances at publication.
The story is quite well written, however I think the ending is a bit abrupt, and therefore feels forced. Changing her mind about George is fine, but because she stole without consequence, and her guilt is most likely contributing to her nausea, the ending just doesn’t come off the way it should.
Hopefully the sum of all the reviews you receive (from Our Pub and other venues) will give you insight on what needs the most work.
This is the same story that I mentioned in the comment section of one of your other posts. I’d been trying hard to keep this at flash length, but maybe I need to let it breathe a bit. Two of the four readers in my previous rejection letter mentioned that it felt like part of something longer.
Michelle, thanks for sharing. Yeah, I remember the other rejection letter you posted, and if you’re consistently getting the same type of specific feedback, it may be time to revise a bit. I can completely relate to trying to keep a story at flash length, though. I’ve gone down that road a number of times, and, generally, when I do decide to turn a flash story into a longer piece, it’s because the ending wasn’t satisfying.
Still, looks like you’re getting solid feedback on the piece, so the editors are seeing something they like.
I am taking some comfort in that 🙂 I do wonder if some of these “nicer” markets, the ones that consistently provide personal comments, ever say “You know, maybe you should take up basket weaving…” 😉
You know, I’ve heard about rejections like that, but I’ve never seen one. I think the vast majority of editors would just send a form rejection.
Keep in mind, you’re not getting personal comments because the publication is being nice (editors usually don’t have time for that); you’re getting personal comments because the editor sees something in your work worth commenting on. Big difference.
Story X really is getting battered by rejections! I admire your determination to get it published. I’d probably get to five and give up.
Nah, seven isn’t that many, at least in my experience. I just sold one that was rejected eleven times. (I think; it might have been more.) I seem to average about eight rejections per published story. Now, it may be possible that my submission targeting is a little off for “Story X”, or, hell, the story might not be up to snuff. We’ll see. The number of rejections hasn’t discouraged me, though. In fact, I sent the story out again this morning. 😉
I didn’t think you were discouraged at all… I was thinking that if the story was a person, it would be sitting on a bed and hitting the pillow over and over haha. Because stories are sensitive 😉
My stories are what I aspire to be as a writer, a leather-skinned masochist too stupid to stop. 😉
Okay, you are determined, I will give you that ;-). By the way, you asked about rejections that your readers had, and you can read about mine for the year here: https://harbourwave.wordpress.com/2015/12/12/this-years-rejections-and-acceptances/
Well, if you hit 10, then at least we get to read it sooner instead of having to wait for it to be published. But for your sake, I hope someone picks it up.
Sure, I’d love to sell the piece, but even if I don’t, the journey of “Story X” has been a fun little feature, and I’ll do it again within another story either way.