Rejection Letter Roundup: The Rejectance

Yeah, I know. Rejectance isn’t a word (well not a proper one, anyway), but as you might have suspected, it’s a portmanteau of rejection and acceptance. So, how do you get a rejection and an acceptance at the same time? Let me show you.

Back in March, I received the following response to a submission. As usual, I’ve removed the name of the editor, the market, and the title of the story. I’ve also removed other information not pertinent to the point I want to make but that might identify the publisher. If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know that’s just how I roll. Let’s take a look.

Many thanks for your [anthology] submission [story title]. We received an overwhelming amount of stories for our submissions call for this book, which made the selection process especially tough as [editor] was only able to choose [small number of] stories for publication.

[Your story] came very close in the selections but unfortunately didn’t make the very final cut of stories. We really liked your story though so were wondering if you would allow us to publish it in one of our other anthologies? I’m currently working on an anthology on the theme [second anthology] and think your story could work really well for that. 

If you’d be happy for this story to appear in [second anthology] instead, we’d be delighted to accept your story! Please let me know as soon as you can if you’d like to go ahead, and I’ll send a license to confirm the terms. 

Pretty cool, huh? Both anthologies pay pro rates, and I’m frankly thrilled to have a story included in either one. The other little piece of validation is I’d been shopping this story for a LONG time, almost two years and some twelve rejections, so this was a very welcome acceptance.

But how does a rejectance happen? Well, it has to be a situation where an editor is running multiple anthologies, like in the letter above, or is associated with multiple magazines. Basically, they have to have a another, more appropriate venue for a story they like but isn’t quite a fit for the market to which it was submitted. For example, check out this tidbit from the guidelines of Black Static, which is a sister magazine to Interzone and Crimewave.

Don’t submit a rejected story to another of our magazines, as we will already have considered that option.

Although I don’t have any actual data on this, I assume a rejectance is possible from Black Static, wherein a story is not suitable for them but might be a good fit for Crimewave or Interzone. If they go so far as to mention it in their guidelines, I’ll bet it’s happened at least once or twice (or they’ve at least seriously entertained the possibility). There are other markets that are part of a pair or trio of zines where a rejectance could happen as well. That said, if each zine has a different editors, they might just recommend you submit your story to a sister zine, which is a recommendation rejection and a slightly different beast. 🙂


The submission landscape can be a little strange at times, and the rejectance is just one of the weird (and wonderful) things you might run into if you do this long enough. If you’ve ever received a rejectance, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

3 Comments on “Rejection Letter Roundup: The Rejectance

  1. Congratulations to you!

    Here’s one of my latest, pretty standard/ slightly better than a one-liner.

    Dear You,

    Thank you for your submission to XX. We know it can be stressful waiting for a response and we strive to be as prompt as we can. We are going to pass on your submission, “YY”, although we do appreciate you considering us. Writing is very subjective and just because we didn’t select this piece doesn’t mean others won’t. It just wasn’t the right fit for us.

    Thank you again for submitting your work to XX. You are always more than welcome to submit something else in the future so long as it meets our guidelines.

    All the best,
    XX

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