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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Form or personal?

   
Author Topic: Form or personal?
skadder
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I just got my rejection from Fantasy and Science fiction. It said:

Dear Adam,

Thanks you submitting “A Classically Trained Artist,” but I am going to pass on it. This tale didn’t grab my interest. Good luck to you with this one, and thanks again for sending it.

Sincerely

(Personally signed)

John Joseph Adams
Assistant Editor.


Now is that a form rejection or a personal rejection?


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Robert Nowall
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Form. It's almost word-for-word what my last two said, going back to 2006.

They said:

quote:
(date)

(three lines with my name and P. O. Box address)

Dear Mr. Nowall:

Thank you for submitting "[name of story]," but I'm going to pass on it. This tale didn't grab my interest, I'm afraid. Good luck to you with this one, and thanks again for sending it our way.

Sincerely,

(signature)

John Joseph Adams
Assistant Editor


...if I typed it in right. I'll redo it if it looks odd.


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skadder
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You just copied mine, didn't you!
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Yeah, that sounds like a form rejection. Nice to make it seem not quite so form-like, but it's still a form.

And you realize, I hope, that there can be a bazillion reasons why you got a form rejection, possibly as many as half of which have nothing to do with whether your story is sellable or not.

All it really means is that John Joseph Adams and the people he sees himself editing (as in selecting stories) for may not be part of the readership for your story as conveyed in the manuscript you submitted.


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skadder
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Although I must say it was rather nice getting a letter rejection rather than an email rejection. Feels more personal anyway...they have to print it, fold it, stick stamps on, lick the envelope and post it...

I am touched...


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Susan Hanniford Crowley
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It's a polite form letter. Please, don't take it personally.
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ChrisOwens
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I think we all aim for personal rejections vs form. Of course, acceptances are even better.

I believe that form letter has been nicknamed the "no grab". My Q407 WOTF Finalist story got a 6-day no-grabber two weeks back.


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Robert Nowall
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I know they say they'd like to respond personally to every manuscript if they could...but they don't.

I won't say they can't, because in the heyday of the George Scithers Asimov's, near as I could tell, every MS I sent them got a card-with-comments rejection---practically all of which were helpful to me. This stopped with a change of editors, though if Scithers-and-company could do it, why can't others?


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Robert Nowall
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A passing thought on Skadder's last comment, even though I'm desperately hoping it was an oversight...that when you print up something and send it to a market through the mail, you must include a stamped and self-addressed envelope if you want the manuscript back and to find out if it's been rejected...
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skadder
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When you send stuff from the UK to the America you have to include an international reply coupon in lieu of stamps. They then stick the stamps on your envelope for you, and take the reply coupon to the post office and get their money back.
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skadder
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I don't take rejection personally--it is what I expect. I realize I am more likely to rejected rather than accepted. I think my score to date must be 15 rejections to 3 acceptances.

I think F and SF IS on of the markets where they read only the first 13 and need to PULLED onward, otherwise they dump it open another submission.

We should work out a rating system for 13 lines and then score on hook and prose out of 10.


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snapper
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Okay, lets start with your last post. I give it a 2 out of ten. You need to pump up that emotion.

>I don't take rejection personally--it is what I expect

should be

>How dare they reject my masterpiece! When I get rich, I'm going to buy that mag and burn it to the ground!

It's F&SF. The biggest problem with your script is the authors name. I know they accept submissions from everyone but every issue that I ever read had authors who I have recgonized. (I've only bought two I confess). Why buy yours when Ian McDonald's agent is pushing his script? He's got fans and as far as I know I'm your only one.
The reason why F&SF gets so many manuscripts is because of their quick response time. You can get an answer in a week instead of three months. Why not take the chance?
The 13 line idea is a good one but if you look at the stories that get pubished, their 13 would get chewed up like everyone else's on here.
I feel your doldrums. I doesn't feel like you got a fair shake when you get those types of letters. Try another SFWA market. I bet you'll find one that will buy it, or my name isn't SNAPPER

[This message has been edited by snapper (edited February 24, 2008).]


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djvdakota
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In reality, I don't think there's a market out there that doesn't dump submissions based on the first 13. There simply is not time to read everything that comes in, and SO MUCH of it is SOOOOO not ready for publication.

Grammar and spelling errors, improper formatting, cutesy tricks to get your MS 'noticed' by the editors, on and on.

Even the best of it, the editor will stop reading and reject when he loses interest.

F&SF sends out LOTS of form rejections because they receive HUGE volumes of stories. They don't have time to do much of anything else.

And, true, the first 13 of an awful lot of published stories would be ground to meat around here. But keep in mind that the only thing the first 13 really need to do is get the editor to turn to page 2. It doesn't have to be perfect. It only has to keep JJAdams' interest.

And the rest of the story better keep on doing that, or JJ will stop reading, and you'll be receiving that form rejection quicker than you can blink.

So next time you critique 13 lines, one of the best things you can say is, "I'd turn the page."


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ozwonderdog
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So this is form?

"Thank you for submitting "Some Unwanted Attention" to XYZ Magazine, but we've decided not to accept it for publication. I liked the writing here, but the story didn't really stand out for me.

We appreciate your interest in our magazine."

I thought the editor had read it.... but it didnt fit with that magazine edition. oh no! I've been formed!

*sob*

ah well..


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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I'd say that was just a step better than form.

They are not going to say they liked the writing to people they don't want to encourage. (Hmmm. That may have been too many negatives. Basically, I'm saying that they sent you this rejection instead of a pure form rejection because they want to encourage you.)

Basic form rejection looks like this:

quote:
Thank you for submitting "Some Unwanted Attention" to XYZ Magazine. We are sorry, but it doesn't fit our needs at this time. We appreciate your interest in our magazine.


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JeanneT
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Absolutely, I agree. No editor has to say they liked you're writing. Take that as that they mean it. It's probably still a form but a big step up from the "we hated it form" to the "we can't use it but liked it" form.
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Robert Nowall
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Well, ultimately, no editor or slush-pile reader really wants to mortally offend the next Stephen King, even though the story in front of them doesn't show any promise...so that pretty much excludes saying "this story sucks" to them.
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JeanneT
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There IS one rejection form that offends me. It's sent by at least two agents who I know of. They include advertising for their own books with rejections. Now THAT offends me.
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darklight
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Or the ones that recommend an editing service. That gets me a bit hot under the collar.
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ozwonderdog
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You've made me feel happy again... yay.

A friend got a rejection letter, where they suggested reading such and such a book, if they wanted an idea of what they were looking for... upselling their work... yeah, that was nasty.


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