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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Best and Worse Rejections (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Best and Worse Rejections
History
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As a companion thread to Submission Response Time http://www.hatrack.com/cgi-bin/ubbwriters/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=007429;p=0&r=nfx ...

Other than "form" rejection letters which are arguably 'the worst' (like all my WOTF, Asimov's, DSF, and IGMS submissions), what are the best and worst rejection letters you've received?

Tonight I received one of the best (it would have been the best if the very gracious Editor had asked for another story [Wink] ) and it made me laugh even as I saved it to my growing Rejections Folder:

"I enjoyed this. ... This is a marvelous tale. It needs an audience, and I am pretty sure (my Publication) is not the proper place for it. Let me check with my contacts in the industry and see if I can't scare up a more fitting venue." [Smile]

My worst:

"This story couldn't hold my interest." [Frown]
(I also have many variations of "didn't work for me.")

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

P.S. The submission response time for the "best" rejection above was 1 week.

[ September 01, 2012, 11:53 PM: Message edited by: History ]

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MattLeo
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Splendid. May I ask which story this was for?
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babooher
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Any acceptance is pretty good in my book. My worst rejection was getting a story accepted only to have the mag go out of business the issue before my story would have appeared. GRRRR
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Crank
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I'm not sure this one qualifies as my 'best' rejection, but it's definitely one of the more memorable: an editor thanked me for making sure my space travel calculations were correct before he declined to publish the story.

S!

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History
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quote:
Originally posted by MattLeo:
Splendid. May I ask which story this was for?

The final revision of Erev Tov.
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extrinsic
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Besides please, no thank you, and you're welcome, I don't have any best or worse rejections. So I'll make some up.

Worst I could imagine. Paraphrase of the proverbial Chinese rejection letter. We want to publish this story to show our audience how not to write but, alas, if we did, we'd spoil the chance we might ever do worse.

Best rejection I could imagine. This is exactly what we're looking for; however, we recently acquired a story of a similar vein, though not nearly as artfully crafted, by one of our regular featured writers and must, regretably, decline.

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genevive42
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I'm going to interpret this post slightly differently. Here are rejections for the same story. Several of these are pro, SFWA approved pubs.

Thank you for your submission to (redacted). "** ****" is a great story and I really enjoyed it; however, it doesn't quite fit in with the other stories that we have for that issue. At this time we are rejecting the story, but I look forward to reading more of your work.

Thanks for submitting this, but I'm going to pass. Though there is some nice imagery here, but the story itself does not unfold quickly enough. I was on page four and still I had no idea what the **** wanted, what the Maelstrom was, or why **** would risk possible death to enter it. Leave the reader in a void of information for too long and they will lose interest.
Best of luck with this story elsewhere. Hopefully another editor will feel differently. Tastes in this business are as varied as the leaves on a tree.
Until next time.


Thank you for submitting "** ****" to xxxxx, but we've decided not to accept it for publication. I thought the trash vortex was good rich material to work with, but I'm afraid the message of the story came across to me as a bit too heavy-handed.

After being passed up to the second round:
Thank you again for allowing xxxxx to consider "** ****." Unfortunately we've decided to pass on it. While the story had some interesting aspects, it doesn't quite go anywhere, and we found the prose style a little bit cumbersome.
Overall, this story just doesn't do enough with itself for xxxx's liking. Though it isn't right for us, we hope you can find a home for it soon.
Good luck with your writing.


Thanks very much for sending this story to _xxxx_.
Unfortunately, it's not quite right for us. Although I like the idea of an
xxxx protagonist, I didn't feel as engaged with this tale as I'd
hoped. The "beauty's" nature and purpose were too mysterious for me to get
a clear sense of what threat or promise it held, and the narrating xxxx
didn't have enough of a goal or drive to keep me invested in her
exploration.
We appreciate your interest in our magazine. Please feel free to submit
other work in the future.


This is a strange little story, I admit. And while it's run the gamut of submissions, it's probably garnered the most personal rejections of any of my stories. Obviously the story needs some work. And as a new market has popped up that might be interested I think I will dust it off and give it another go. But as you can see from that first rejection, if it had fit the tone of the anthology better, it probably would have sold as is.

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MattLeo
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quote:
Originally posted by History:
quote:
Originally posted by MattLeo:
Splendid. May I ask which story this was for?

The final revision of Erev Tov.
I'm delighted you decided to keep working on that.
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rcmann
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quote:
Originally posted by genevive42:
I'm going to interpret this post slightly differently. Here are rejections for the same story. Several of these are pro, SFWA approved pubs.

Thank you for your submission to (redacted). "** ****" is a great story and I really enjoyed it; however, it doesn't quite fit in with the other stories that we have for that issue. At this time we are rejecting the story, but I look forward to reading more of your work.

Thanks for submitting this, but I'm going to pass. Though there is some nice imagery here, but the story itself does not unfold quickly enough. I was on page four and still I had no idea what the **** wanted, what the Maelstrom was, or why **** would risk possible death to enter it. Leave the reader in a void of information for too long and they will lose interest.
Best of luck with this story elsewhere. Hopefully another editor will feel differently. Tastes in this business are as varied as the leaves on a tree.
Until next time.


Thank you for submitting "** ****" to xxxxx, but we've decided not to accept it for publication. I thought the trash vortex was good rich material to work with, but I'm afraid the message of the story came across to me as a bit too heavy-handed.

After being passed up to the second round:
Thank you again for allowing xxxxx to consider "** ****." Unfortunately we've decided to pass on it. While the story had some interesting aspects, it doesn't quite go anywhere, and we found the prose style a little bit cumbersome.
Overall, this story just doesn't do enough with itself for xxxx's liking. Though it isn't right for us, we hope you can find a home for it soon.
Good luck with your writing.


Thanks very much for sending this story to _xxxx_.
Unfortunately, it's not quite right for us. Although I like the idea of an
xxxx protagonist, I didn't feel as engaged with this tale as I'd
hoped. The "beauty's" nature and purpose were too mysterious for me to get
a clear sense of what threat or promise it held, and the narrating xxxx
didn't have enough of a goal or drive to keep me invested in her
exploration.
We appreciate your interest in our magazine. Please feel free to submit
other work in the future.


This is a strange little story, I admit. And while it's run the gamut of submissions, it's probably garnered the most personal rejections of any of my stories. Obviously the story needs some work. And as a new market has popped up that might be interested I think I will dust it off and give it another go. But as you can see from that first rejection, if it had fit the tone of the anthology better, it probably would have sold as is.

Where the heck are you submitting to? the only time I get anything close to that level of feedback is from BCS.

I don't rate the rejections as good or bad in terms fo how they're phrased. Especially the form letters. Why take something like that personally? It does bug me when they make you wait forever. Look at Clarkesworld or Lightspeed or BCS or F&SF. All top quality publications. And they all have a very prompt turnaround. F&SF especially. They are as blunt as a baseball bat to the crotch, but they don't make you wait for half a year to find out that you didn't make the cut. That's all I want to know, do they want it or not. If not, say so and let me either try someone else or figure out what's wrong with it.

I am no longer willing to squander the days and weeks of my lifespan on someone else's casual convenience the way i was as a meek lad. I am too close to the big dark. What time I have left is going to be spent productively, one way or another. So blunt is fine. It's the foot dragging that drives me crazy.

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genevive42
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I think I can list the markets while still maintaining discretion. I have nothing negative to say about any of these markets.
This list is not in the same order as the responses:

Shimmer
BCS
IGMS
Penumbra
Strange Horizons

And in still a different sequence, is the number of days the responses took:

1 day (this was a direct to the editor sub, not the normal turnaround for this publication)
73 days
15 days
3 days
14 days

To date, this story has fifteen rejections total.

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snapper
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My best and worse rejection letter I have received was for the first story I ever sent in for consideration.

quote:
I'm not usually this harsh, but the spelling, punctuation and grammar are atrocious. In my opinion, it is unprofessional to submit something that hasn't been proofed.
I'm not going to lie. I took it very hard when I received this. I felt like a boxer who stepped in the ring and was knocked to the mat ten seconds into the first round. It would have been really easy to stay down and give up and chalk up my writing endeavor as whim, but it made me reflect on my effort and desire. So instead of waiting for the ten count, I forced myself up and prepared for more abuse. I looked at the piece again and (with the help of a very good internet friend) fixed the third grade grammar and tried somewhere else. It sold.

I was this close to writing back to the publisher to complain about my treatment. Today, I regret not writing to the editor to thank them for giving me a much needed kick in my complacency. If (very big if) I get successful enough to become a full time freelance writer, I will frame this rejection on the wall of my library (that I will build from the millions I make). What will be next to it? My other favorite rejection.

quote:
We have all read, reviewed and discussed your story and we loved it,
HOWEVER, per our Submission Guidelines, we do not accept or publish any tale
containing child abuse -- and feasting a baby falls in that category.



[ September 02, 2012, 10:23 AM: Message edited by: snapper ]

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Robert Nowall
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Long ago, when I was writing poetry on a regular basis, I sent one for comments to a fellow Workshopper---the SF & Fantasy Workshop, some of you might remember it---and got back some comments and a slightly revised version of my poem, changing the meter.

I wrote back saying, among other things, I liked the meter the way it was. I got back a nasty and obsceneity-laced letter that spoke of how he was only interested in what would sell to him---and I had no idea I was submitting anything to him as a market.

Even if...anyway, I wrote no more to him and, after a letter enclosing the bulk of my letters and poems, heard no more from him. Good riddance, I thought.

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Robert Nowall
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Further thought...the best rejections I've gotten were from when George Scithers edited, first, Asimov's, then Amazing...comments that told me (1) they'd at least looked through the pages of my story, and (2) what was wrong with it in a way that was helpful. (For instance, the subject matter I choose for my stories and the characters I create---and what I don't choose and create---are determined to a degree by what was said on those slips.)

Also...you hear a lot about how editors don't have time to respond personally to each and every story that came in---but this disproved it. (The markets went back to form letters after Scithers departed.)

Also also...I think Scithers produced a better magazine than his successors, too...

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EVOC
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My best:
quote:
Thanks for submitting your short story “XXXXXXXX” to XXXXX. I'm afraid we won't be accepting it for publication. Just so you know, though, it made it right up to the end of the selection process. I liked the story, and if you don't find a home for it by our next issue, it would probably have a decent chance at being accepted for Issue 3. Best of luck. Also, I just want to say thanks for all the support you've given this little endeavor. We received more submissions this issue, and more website hits in general, and a large part of that is thanks to you. So I want you to know I appreciate it. I hope you continue to support us!

That story has since sold to another market.

My least favorite:
quote:
Richard -

Thanks for letting us see "XXXXXX". I regret to say that it's just not right for XXXXXXXX.

Here's what our editor had to say: *Interesting and well-written story that suffers from a woefully predictable ending.*
I'm sorry. Best of luck with this one in other markets.

That one took a stab at me. But I realized that it only meant the editor read the whole story. This was early in my writing and to know I at least got a full read was good, even if I hate being "woefully predictable". That story also sold to another market.
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LDWriter2
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I finally got to this,

My best rejection was from John Joseph Adams when he worked for F&SF. He liked my opening in that story and something else.

Some of the ones from Beneath Ceaseless Skies haven't been too bad since they give an idea or two why the story was rejected. Frustrating but still not bad.


The worse...Hmm, maybe the old ones for Asimovs and Analog Very blunt and short.


Oh, this one was either the worse or the best depending how you look at it.
An editor at one magazine liked the story I sent and would have at least discussed buying it with the other editor but the magazine went out of business so he couldn't buy it.

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Robert Nowall
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One other thing...I haven't gotten anything other than a form letter rejection for about ten years---'course I haven't had as much to submit, and for about four years in there, when I was involved in Internet Fan Fiction, nothing at all to submit. Probably the older crowd who knew me moved on and to the younger crowd I was just another slushpile entry...

('Course also I don't do the electronic submission and online site route, either...)

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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quote:
Originally posted by Robert Nowall:
Long ago, when I was writing poetry on a regular basis, I sent one for comments to a fellow Workshopper---the SF & Fantasy Workshop, some of you might remember it---and got back some comments and a slightly revised version of my poem, changing the meter.

I wrote back saying, among other things, I liked the meter the way it was. I got back a nasty and obsceneity-laced letter that spoke of how he was only interested in what would sell to him---and I had no idea I was submitting anything to him as a market.

Even if...anyway, I wrote no more to him and, after a letter enclosing the bulk of my letters and poems, heard no more from him. Good riddance, I thought.

Robert, did you let me know about this when it happened? I would very much have liked to know about it, and I don't recall your telling me. (I would not have wanted that kind of feedback interchange associated with SF and Fantasy Workshop back then, just as I don't want something like that associated with the Hatrack River Writers Workshop now.)
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Robert Nowall
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No, I don't think I did, but I'm not sure. I don't know if anybody else had a problem with the guy---I'd give the name here but this is a sanitized version---but I do remember he was one of those who was there for a year and gone when his subscription ran out. (Given some of the things that set me off at work these days, I'm surprised now I didn't make a biger deal of it.)

I think the matter influenced my notions of give-and-take when giving or taking criticism of one's works, though...if I thought somebody was wrong I thought I should say so, and if somebody thought I was wrong I thought that somebody should say so, too...

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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quote:
Originally posted by Robert Nowall:
but I do remember he was one of those who was there for a year and gone when his subscription ran out.

Oh, we had a lot of those. In fact, I might not remember him either, in that case.

Oh, well. Water under the bridge, and nothing I can do about it now. I was just curious.

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axeminister
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Best:
My WotF finalist.
Though I heard nothing from the editor or judges, Joni was very pleasant in telling me that my story ALMOST made the grade.

Worst:
2nd round of Daily Science Fiction. Waited 50 days. Got a form reject.

To date, I've yet to receive one of those fancy, "We liked your story, but..." letters. Hell, I'd be thrilled to get one.

Axe

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Meredith
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Best:

From a pro market:

quote:
This story felt a little too slow and disjointed, but I enjoyed your writing and the earthy (no pun intended) characters. I would encourage you to send us some more of your work for consideration in the future.
(my italics. [Smile] )

It was a story that took some time to develop and I had chosen to use more than one point of view.

Worst:

A form rejection from Tor.com. That wasn't particularly surprising, but waiting 249 days for it . . .

I've got another story out at a different market, now on day 215. *sigh* (This market allows sim subs. Of course, you have to find another market that also accepts sim subs for that to do you any good.)

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genevive42
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I put this in the other thread, but I think it's worth posting here too. A complete report on how the editorial process works at Shimmer.

http://www.shimmerzine.com/2012/09/05/how-shimmer-falls-in-love-with-fiction/

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History
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For those who may have interest, the conclusion (at present) to my "best rejection" that initiated this thread:

http://www.hatrack.com/cgi-bin/ubbwriters/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=11;t=004212;p=0&r=nfx

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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rcmann
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IGMS just sent one of the better ones this morning. "...we would encourage you to send us more of your work for consideration in the future."

I hope they meant it, because they have just opened the floodgates upon themselves:)

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rcmann
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And this one may be the worst:

On day Eighty-Nine (89) Asimov's switched their online tracking message from "received" over to "under review". It remained "under review" for three more days. Finally I couldn't stand the suspense. So I sent:

quote:

Dear Editorial Staff:

As shown below, I submitted my my story, -----, for consideration on --- --, 2012. According to your online tracking system, my story is listed as being still under consideration. Is this correct? Please advise.

Thank you for considering my work.

Regards,

Within a few moments (now they get prompt) I received this brisk little reply:

quote:

Dear -----,

Thank you for the opportunity to read "----." Unfortunately, your story isn't quite what we're looking for right now. Please excuse this form letter. The volume of work has unfortunately made it impossible for us to respond to each submission individually, much as we’d like to do so.

In the future, we'd appreciate it if you formatted the story in standard manuscript format (SMF). You can find out more about SMF here: http://www.shunn.net/format/story.html

Sincerely,

Sheila Williams, Editor
Asimov’s Science Fiction
www.asimovs.com

*Rant Warning*

It freakin' WAS formatted in proper manuscript format. I'm a blasted tech writer, have been for thirty years. I know how to format a document. I have been submitting manuscripts all over the internet. Nobody ANYWHERE has ever complained about my document formatting before.

For 89 days they let it sit there, and left me swinging in the wind. On 89 day I have a suspicion that a script might have activated to switch it over to reading "under review". That would likely save them from being pestered for a while. It's just a hunch, but I like it.

And then, after three *@(*$#&#) MONTHS! After 93 days, they send me a form letter rejection with the bogus excuse that my formatting was bad?

Bullcrap.

This level of professional discourtesy is appallingly.

[ September 11, 2012, 11:46 AM: Message edited by: rcmann ]

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History
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That is unfortuate, rcmann.

My two form rejections (so far) from Asimov's average 53 days. Per Duotrope, the average response time is 42 days and maximum response time (only after which do they recommend querying) is 90 days.

My last F&SF submission was rejected after 108 days! Per Duotrope, their average response time is 13 days and the maximum response time is 60 days. As this story was considered by many the best story I've written to date, I was hesitantly hopeful...but realistically (fatalistically?) suspected that either the story, or its rejection, had been lost in the mail. The latter turned out to be the case. These things happen.

Of course, WOTF submissions take months to be considered and all I've received from them are form rejections.

Then there is Tor.com with an average of 194.5 days and maximum of 616 days! Their pay per word is very high, but as I age I am more cognizant of passsing time (with my luck I'd get an acceptance posthumously--kein en hora). So I've not submitted to them (as yet)

I haven't felt angry toward any editor or agent or publisher for their obvious insufficiencies in recognizing the brilliance of my writing. [Wink] But then, I don't think, despite brief moments of glimmer and sparkle, I'm quite there yet.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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genevive42
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The move of a sub from 'received' to 'under review' can be deceptive. I've had things sit 'under review' for a while at Asimov's and other pubs.

I've also gotten a copy of submission guidelines when I know I've been within them (from pro pubs).

In a flurry of submission responses, mistakes can happen. I wouldn't strike a prime market off my list for one offense. Asimov's is one of the big three and the fact that you got to 89 days means there's a decent chance you got past the first slush reader. That's very good. I encourage patience and that you reconsider your decisions regarding this market.

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Robert Nowall
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Probably your query made them pull it out of the figurative pile and reject it then and there...I've ranted in the past about what I've come to think are unreasonable (and often downright bizarre) demands about format and type fonts and paper types and such from what are, let's face it, marginal markets. (I don't do the e-submission routine, so that'd open up a whole other kettle of fish.)

Should these markets be making these kind of demands about submissions? [Shrug] I dunno...

(By the way, 108 days is about 100 days longer than it took F & SF to bounce my last several submissions...)

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genevive42
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Also, remember that World Con and Dragon Con just ended recently. Summer has a lot of things going on in the sf/f publishing world that can slow down response times.
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MJNL
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Not to mention Trevor Quachri was managing editor for both Analog and Asimov's. So, Sheila recently lost an assistant.

I've also been under the impression she operates like Stan--without any first readers, but I could be wrong.

It's always possible your submission got garbled. It might have come out incorrectly formatted on the other end. I don't see why the comment would cause offense.

And as there were 25+ rejections on duotrope today (probably reflecting anywhere from 5-10% of actual responses)--mine being one at 97 days (under review for several days, maybe a week)-- I'd say the rejection was most likely not in direct response to your query.

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History
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Hey! I may have a hump but I'm planning to sit on top of this hill for a couple of decades or more and, in a couple years when I retire or semi-retire (my choice), spend the majority of it happily doing whatever I dang well please, particularly writing. And if it doesn't sell to them there fancy New York Ceety editors, there's always epub.

Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing an rcmann website of stories and good-natured ornery grumbles. [Smile]

Lovingly from one old coot to an older one,
Dr. Bob

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LDWriter2
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From a younger coot

I think the rejections from Cricket are some of the nicest ones.

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Gregg L
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My experience is limited as I am new to this. I still wonder what makes me think I can start writing at my age.

My first rejection left me scratching my head.

I submitted a short to a local market, and the response was we like it; however, there are some problems. The list was short and to the point and I did my best to address the issues. The biggest one was the story length. The other big one was some head popping I missed in my edits. A habit sadly I still have problems with at times.

The editor said he would like to see the story once I fixed the issues. My Grammar Nazi looked it over and agreed that I fixed the issues, my wife proofed it, and she can be harder on me than the Nazi. She too agreed that I corrected the problems.

I posted the first 13 line here some time ago, The Voyage of the Jules Verne. The story is centered on a child as she grows up on the ship, age range 5 to 18.

Ten days later, I receive a flat out rejection saying that the story was good but they were looking for stories that were PG, preferably hard R.

No mention of that in their submission section, and not a word about it when he asked for the corrections.

Currently the story is submitted to another market, waiting for a response.

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RyanB
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"PG, preferably hard R" ???
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extrinsic
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quote:
Originally posted by RyanB:
"PG, preferably hard R" ???

Parental Guidance audience ratings allow for some adult situations, some adult language, and some adult wants and problems. PG-13-year-old and older allows for stronger adult language and situations but no overt adult sexuality or violence. Hard Restricted to adult audience ratings, so to speak, permits a yet greater degree of adult circumstances, perhaps off-scene allusions to adult sexuality and violence, too, or stronger, perhaps some explicit nudity and violence and the language is decidely adult, perhaps including profanity. An age range five- to eighteen-year-old girl might encounter adult situations she understands and has to cope with at onset of puberty. Young adult territory. Primary grade and middle grade literature and moral auditors thereof insist upon General-rating material.

[ April 11, 2013, 05:51 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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quote:
Originally posted by Gregg L:
Ten days later, I receive a flat out rejection saying that the story was good but they were looking for stories that were PG, preferably hard R.

No mention of that in their submission section, and not a word about it when he asked for the corrections.

Gregg L, this kind of preference should be evident from the kinds of stories they have published in the past. Either that, or they have decided to change directions or market their publication to a different type of reader.
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Gregg L
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They were getting started, so I had nothing to go by. One would have thought after the first read through they would have mentioned the direction they were going.

As I said I am NEW NEW NEW to this and it was my first submission. I have learned a lot since and more everyday

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rcmann
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In honest truth, I suppose my best rejection would have to be my last one. I don't even remember where it was from, nor who wrote it, nor what story it was for. But it was the one that drove me to say 'to hell with it' and start self-publishing my work.
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extrinsic
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quote:
Originally posted by Gregg L:
They were getting started, so I had nothing to go by. One would have thought after the first read through they would have mentioned the direction they were going.

As I said I am NEW NEW NEW to this and it was my first submission. I have learned a lot since and more everyday

I'd guess they were still defining their slant. Also, the two decidely different responses suggest to me they were from different editors of different standing with the publisher. Or a radical change of mind influenced by someone of higher standing.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Yes, I suspect along with extrinsic that you heard from two different editors, Gregg L.

If a publication is new, so that you can't look at any samples, then ask them for guidelines.

Some writers are suspicious of detailed guidelines, especially for new publications (considering them a little amateurish on the part of the publisher or editor--and that may be the case), but it does help writers get a better idea of what they're interested in and it saves everyone time and possibly postage.

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Gregg L
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Thank you for the advice. This is why I came here. I know there is a lot I need to learn and the other sites didn't bother with this subject or most anything else for that matter.
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shimiqua
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My worst rejection came from the magazine I work for. I submitted a story anonymously that made it to the winnowing round, and then watched and listened as people, ( my friends) ripped it to pieces. They called it boring, and heavy handed, and predictable and overwrought, and I just stood there, nodding my electric head, pretending it wasn't my story.

That was soul crushing.

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Did you ever tell them, shimiqua?
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MattLeo
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quote:
Originally posted by shimiqua:
My worst rejection came from the magazine I work for. I submitted a story anonymously that made it to the winnowing round, and then watched and listened as people, ( my friends) ripped it to pieces. They called it boring, and heavy handed, and predictable and overwrought, and I just stood there, nodding my electric head, pretending it wasn't my story.

That was soul crushing.

This is why I follow the Golden Rule when critiquing: I always try to give the critique *I* would want to receive had *I* been the author of this story.

This kind of harrowing critique session isn't about gaining new insight, it's about people reinforcing the consensus view. It's about expressing opinions that everyone will agree with, then having those opinions validated. When criticizing, don't be afraid to be different; be afraid of expressing a safe, consensus opinion. Nobody needs the consensus view restated, they need it challenged.

When an exception to the norm is needed, be that exception.

That's why I steadfastly refuse to dump on *TWILIGHT*, even though it's not my cup of tea and not my friends cup of tea. I am not blind to TWILIGHT's faults, nor am I blind to its virtues. Likewise -- I love LORD OF THE RINGS, and re-read it practically every year, but because I've read it so many times I am not blind to its many serious faults.

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shimiqua
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Nope, I never told them. The EiC and Slush managers knew it was my story, and they were (are) super kind. But I think that brutal honesty can be helpful, although I haven't reread that story since.
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EVOC
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Sometimes in critiques there is a fine line between truth and hurtful. I don't mind the truth, though it stings at times. I do mind being outright belittled.

I have never been belittled by a publication. Though as an Editor, my staff and I have been belittled many times by writers.

Of course I have dealt with a lot more writers then publishers.

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LDWriter2
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I was recently reminded of this thread and decided I may have something new to add,

It's (shrug) leans toward the worse rejection.

Scott P. over at Fantasy and Science Fiction added a comment to his usual rejection.

The story is a cliche type but I decided I would make it the best written cliche story any editor has seen for quiet some time. Of course that doesn't count the fact that it's my writing so that making it my best writing isn't saying much.

So Scott said something along the lines of my MC having a good breakfast before he had his adventure. Not positive at all.

I might have quoted it someplace here but I can't find it now.

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Robert Nowall
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Reminds me that I'm coming to really dislike the way F & SF continues to swipe the first page of my manuscript...
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telflonmail
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Ah, the good old days with Ed Ferman. They used to be real cheap that it looked like someone personally typed it <check if out here>

Sometimes someone "scribbled" some note on the rejection slip - the handwritting changed from time to time and the advice ranged from helpful to "what the hell does that have to do with the story I just submitted"

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LDWriter2
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They always take the whole story from me.

Well, except this last time. Scott sent the whole thing back. Of course it was only a couple of pages long.


Certain magazines used to send the first page back but not too many do these days. Of course a lot of take e-submissions now but that is beside the point.

And of course F&SF includes the title in the rejection note.

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