Rejection Letter Rundown: The Reprint Rejection

Been a while since I talked about the specific types of rejections a writer might receive, but here’s one that falls into kind of a unique category: the reprint rejection. It’s unique because it’s a story you know at least one editor/publisher liked enough to publish, so you might have more confidence when you send it out. Past success, however, does not guarantee future success, and the reprint rejection is yet another reminder of this writerly reality.

Here are some examples of reprint rejection from my own collection.

Thank you again for your interest in [publisher] and for allowing us to review your story submission. Unfortunately, the story does not meet our editorial needs at this time. 
We sincerely hope your story finds a home soon, and that you’ll consider submitting more work in the future.
Can you detect any difference in this reprint rejection from a standard form rejection for an original story? Let’s look at another one.

Thank you for submitting [story] to [market]. It’s an interesting story, but it didn’t quite come together for us and we’ve decided to pass on it.

We appreciate your interest in our [market]; thanks again for giving us the chance to look at your story.

I’d call this a higher-tier rejection, but, again, it’s no different than the same rejection for an original story from this publisher.

So, as you can see, reprint rejections, are, well, just rejections that don’t call any special attention to the fact the submission was a reprint. (I can think of one publisher that does, but they’re the outlier.) What can that tell us as writers, though? Primarily, I think it reinforces a couple of unwavering truths about submissions and publishing.

  1. It’s still all about right submission, right editor, right time. You managed to hit the winning combination once with the story, but you have to repeat the process all over again to sell it as a reprint.
  2. Good stories still get rejected. You can be somewhat confident your reprint story is pretty decent. If someone was willing to pay you and published the thing, it’s not unreasonable to think it’s a “good story.” But, remember, editors pass on good stories all the time for a variety of reasons, and reprints submissions are not exempt from this rule.

But the big questions is are reprints harder or easier to sell? I’ve covered this topic before, but, in my experience, I think they are slightly easier to sell. A quick look at Duotrope says I’ve sent 44 reprint submissions. Out of those submissions, I received 11 acceptances. That’s a 25% acceptance rate, which is higher than my standard acceptance rate, which is somewhere between 15% and 20%.


Thoughts on the reprint rejection? What’s your experience with them? Tell me about it in the comments.

2 Comments on “Rejection Letter Rundown: The Reprint Rejection

    • You sure you want to spoil that 1.000 batting average? 😉

      Nah, you should definitely send more reprints. Lots of good reasons to get extra mileage out of proven stories.

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