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Author Topic: Most Encouraging Rejection
Brendan
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I've noticed a few discussions below talking about different non-form rejections. So I thought, what is the most encouraging rejection that fellow Hatrackers have had?

In this thread, please include the rejection wording (if you can) and an explanation on why you found it encouraging.


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genevive42
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My first submission to Strange Horizons got a form rejection from an assistant editor. My second sub got a form rejection from an editor. My third sub got the following from one of the three main editors:
quote:
Thank you for submitting "Sheep's Clothing" to Strange Horizons, but we've decided not to accept it for publication. I'm always happy to see a story containing no humans, and I like the alien sex in this. But I'm afraid the story overall didn't quite work for me.

Partly that's because the dynamic between the protagonist and the conqueror (although I liked it) reminded me a little bit too much of part of _Tigana_, which led me to guess more or less where the story was headed; partly because I never quite had an entirely clear mental image of what the aliens looked like (I'm not even certain whether the two factions are the same species) or of how the sex works; partly because the story somehow just didn't quite connect for me emotionally.

But we appreciate your interest in our magazine, and we look forward to seeing your next story.



The fact that he actually took the time to tell me what didn't work and invited me to submit more (which hadn't been part of the previous form letters) was very encouraging, especially since this is a pro publication. At least I'm moving up in my rejections.

I've also adjusted the story according to his recommendations - because I saw his points - and have sent it out elsewhere. Maybe it will do better on this round.

Edited because I can't type.

[This message has been edited by genevive42 (edited August 24, 2010).]


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satate
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My first submission to Apex and Abyss was very encouraging. Before this last e-mail they sent me an e-mail saying they were keeping my story longer because they were considering it for publication. Then they sent me this e-mail.

quote:
Sara,
I'm so sorry, but Abyss & Apex has decided not to purchase "Talent Thief" for the magazine. This was among my personal favorite Flash submissions of last quarter and one of my top ten recommendations to the team.
Thanks again for allowing us to consider your lovely story.



[This message has been edited by satate (edited August 24, 2010).]


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SteveR
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Dear Stephen,

Thank you for letting me see "Mad Money." I thought the story was nicely done, but Iím afraid it didnít quite work for me. I look forward to your next one, though.

Sincerely,

Sheila Williams, editor
Asimovís Science Fiction

[This message has been edited by SteveR (edited August 25, 2010).]


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Pyre Dynasty
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My best one started with a paragraph explaining how he fought for my story but was ultimately out voted. Then he went into a three page critique. I was quite happy with it.
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tchernabyelo
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I had a "This is probably the best written story I've ever rejected" from IGMS once (that story will now be in the first issue of Spectra Magazine). I've had quite a number of other detailed personal rejections from markets like Abyss and Apex, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. In general I get the most "favourable" rejections from places I have already sold stories, which isn't really a great surprise I suppose.
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snapper
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I've gotten a few encouraging rejections in the past, but this early one from alienskin is still my favorite...


quote:
Dear Frank,

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 on a baby falls in that category.

We do urge your to shop the tale around using Duotrope.com search engine to
find a market that is more open to such tales.


Do try us again soon.



BTW, I took their advice and sold it to a brit publication called Twisted Tongue


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babooher
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I had a short story the editor said she almost bought and to try again. I tried again and she bought the next story; I sold the first story to another mag.

Sadly both pubs are no defunct. Oh well.


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skadder
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I've never had an encouraging rejection.

I had a story sit around for 3 months in Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine's 3rd stage (most stories get rejected in stage one) of its submission process waiting for an editor to pick it.

After 3 months the rejected it (as they do if no editor picks it).

I sent it next to WOTF--where it came second--you will be able to buy it in volume 26 [to be released this Saturday!].

[This message has been edited by skadder (edited August 25, 2010).]


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TamesonYip
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Best rejection was one that gave an actual reason for rejection- in the story, he found x lacking. It was something concrete and I could see what he meant and change it (well, I posted the comment here, KDW gave some useful comments about other ways to examine the question and then I realized how to fix it and I think it helped the story). Worst was actually a very positive- I liked x about story, but overall this story isn't right for us. It was personalized and positive, but I had submitted specifically because this market tried to give lots of personal rejections and so I was hoping to get some feedback more like I got from Apex after having gotten several form rejections.
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Nick T
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Hi Skadder,

Iíve had a few stories sit in the third round for ASIM (never had one picked up). I was wondering whether you had one slush reader who loves the story and one who doesnít (and sometimes a third who goes either way). Since the 1st round at ASIM is anonymous on both sides, itís a really odd quirk that I get pretty consistent feedback from the same readers (I wish the happy slush reader became an editorÖ). Possibly the one slush reader loves everything they read.

Oh, and I always get the same canned response from the editors (though Iíve noted itís changed from about 1 in 3 stories getting picked up at the 3rd round to 1 in 20).

Good on you for believing in your story and knowing that it was strong enough to win WOTF.

Nick


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Nick T
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Snapper

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 on a baby falls in that category.

That made me laugh.

Nick

[This message has been edited by Nick T (edited August 25, 2010).]


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philocinemas
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Nick, if you end up with a form rejection, how do you know which round the story gets to - based on time?
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tchernabyelo
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If you pass one of the rounds at ASIM you get an email informing you of the fact.

A few years ago if you got to the third round there was supposedly a roughly 1 in 3 chance of publication, but that has apparently dropped significantly and now only 1 in 10 or fewer of the "third round" stories are selected for publication. I'm not alone in thinking that's not a good policy - they're holding on to stories for a long time with very little chance of actually accepting them.


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Nick T
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Hi Philocinemas,

ASIM have a three round submission process. From their webpage:

quote:
Andromeda Spaceways uses an anonymous three round submission process. If you send a submission to us, it enters round one as soon as we receive it and will be assigned a reference number. A submission moves through to round two and round three if our readers decide to bump it up the line. You can track where your submission is by checking below.
Once a submission is in round three, ASIM editors can view the story and author, and select it for their issue. Because ASIM is edited by a different person for each issue, we hold onto round three stories for three months so that all the potential editors have time to view them.


You get sent an email letting you know when you pass a stage.
If you make it to the third round (i.e. where the editors view your story and know who you are), but are rejected, the letter from the editors is a form letter:
quote:
Thank you for submitting to Andromeda Spaceways.
Unfortunately, while we liked your submission, so far we have not found a place for it ... and it is against our policy to hold onto a story indefinitely. Much as we'd like to, we just don't have the room to print all the stories we get -- not even all the good ones. So sadly, I'm going to have to very reluctantly let this one go.
If it got this far, you can rest assured that your story is of high quality and you should be able to find a home for it. I look forward to hearing from you again.
Better luck next time!
I have supplied some notes from the readers, in case you find them useful.
(All these are only the opinions of the readers.)


Beneath this form letter are two or three lines from the slush readers. As I noted to Skadder, I always have one slush reader who loves my stuff and one who doesnít. Perhaps it is the first slush reader who loves my stuff and the second one doesnít (but still passes it on).
Iíve never been booted before reaching the final round, so I donít know what you get if you are; I guess you receive the readerís comments. As noted before, Iíve never had any trouble reaching the final round, but Iíve never come close to either acceptance from the editors or receiving a non-form letter from them.

Regards,

Nick

*edit* Just saw Tchern responded. The last email I received from them indicated it's now a 1 in 20 acceptance rate. My first submission to them had a 1 in 3.

[This message has been edited by Nick T (edited August 25, 2010).]


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philocinemas
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I would call that very encouraging - form letter or not.
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Robert Nowall
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Way, way back, somebody scribbled "You have talent" on a check-form rejection. There was a "however," which was accurate, but the "you have talent" portion kept me going a long while. (All my early stuff deserved to be rejected---it's the rejection of the later stuff that made me bitter.)
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