1. Rumpole40k
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    Rumpole40k Banned

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    A new perspective on the dreaded rejection letter

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Rumpole40k, Feb 22, 2009.

    I've decided to share this primarily to encourage the new writer who only seems to get the dreaded (but inevitable) rejection letters. I just recieved an email from a magazine that has repeatedly and regularly rejected every piece I have sent them. The email concerned a piece that was I sent off to them in August 2006. The same piece they hated almost three years ago, they now want. The moral? Keep sending off work, yesterday's trash may become tomorrow's treausre.

    (And for whatever it is worth, I stopped counting my number of rejection letters after it hit 350.)
     
  2. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    So you're saying that as long as your writing is good, then someone, at some time in life, is going to want it?
     
  3. Rumpole40k
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    Rumpole40k Banned

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    As long as you don't give up, then .... yes.
     
  4. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    That's something nice to hear, and I'm glad you didn't try to pepper your response with, "Well, don't get TOO complacent, because your writing just might not be as good as you think."

    That's obvious, and it would really just be unnecessary spoiling of the glad tidings you bring.
     
  5. Patrick Williams
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    Patrick Williams New Member

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    I just got my first rejection yesterday. Cool! Now I'm part of the club of aspiring writers. :)

    Patrick
     
  6. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    They probably have a new editor. Or a different editor read it this time around. Did you alter the story at all? Do any editing since three years ago and now?
     
  7. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Contributing Member

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    Like I've said before, pile those rejections within sight and let them inspire you to carry on and improve as you do so.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it's a crap shoot... any sizable magazine, or agency, or publisher will have several to many 'readers' who do the culling, so you could conceivably send the same piece in to the same place several times and get varying reactions to it, anywhere from a stock rejection slip to a raving acceptance...
     
  9. DavidGil
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    DavidGil Senior Member

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    Isn't it actually a good sign that you receive a rejection letter (unless a response is guaranteed)?

    I haven't attempted to publish anything yet, so I wouldn't know. But I look at it this way: they can either write back to you saying that what you submitted wasn't suitable or they can just not bother at all.

    With regards to job interviews, I'm always happier if I receive a rejection letter than nothing at all, despite it still not being nice. It probably doesn't mean much but to me it says: you were worthy enough to be sent a rejection letter at least.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sorry to burst your bubble, but all it means is those particular editors/agents send them out... others don't...
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sorry to burst your bubble, but all it means is those particular editors/agents send rejections letters/slips out to all submitters, while some others don't send them out at all...
     
  12. dthomas
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    dthomas Member

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    Congrats on your accepted story.
    I tend to think of it like this: each time you get rejected, you work on a new story, you get practice, you hone your skill, voice, style, etc. and after so many rejections you have a reasonable amount of practice, so you have a better chance of getting your story accepted. That doesn't apply to your case if you wrote it three years ago, though.
    Has anyone read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell? It talks about how 10,000 hours of practicing something seems to be a marker in many people's lives (Bill Gates, The Beatles, Beethoven, etc.). It's an interesting read that makes you want to keep writing, if only to get in as many hours of "practice" as possible.
     
  13. xanadu
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    xanadu Contributing Member Contributor

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    Gladwell lost any credibility he had with me when he tried to tell me in Blink that it was a good idea to make decisions based on stereotypes and minimal thought, then contradicted himself by saying that sometimes it isn't a good idea. No kidding.

    Anyway, surely rejection letters should serve as motivation to do better. Of course, I have yet to write something I feel is worthy of submission, so I really wouldn't know.
     
  14. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    Well, I see nothing wrong with saying that sometimes minimal thought and stereotypes is the way to go, while other times it is not the way to go.

    (Though I, personally, hate stereotypes.)
     
  15. Patrick Williams
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    I didn’t take that from Blink. While Gladwell did espouse one listening to their initial or gut reactions, I don’t think he wanted people to go exclusively with initial reactions. I took his point to be that ignoring gut reactions can often lead to the wrong decision being made. While the book was a rather light and superficial overview of split second decision making, it was still worth the read.

    Patrick
     
  16. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    I didn't read Blink. I listened to it on audio tape :p (EDIT: Note to all. This is a sign your parents are getting old. They don't read anymore. They just listen to everything while sitting XD). I don't think it says that at all. Gladwell merely suggests that in making a split decision the gut reaction should not be ignored. Granted a gut reaction is often based on stereotypes, but to ignore it is tragically flawed and I have quite a few martial arts trophies that prove the gut feelings effectiveness. Often one will find that the first reaction will be right in tense situations where you must act quickly. With the proper knowledge, gut feelings can predict what is likely to occur and that these feelings should not be ignored. I think Blink got that across well. It also supports the age old wisdom of Sun Tzu; A leader who makes wrong decisions is better than one who makes no decisions. In tense moments you don't have all the time in the world to find the best solution. You must act, because not acting will often be more disastrous than making a less than right move.

    Stereotypes shouldn't be completely undercut. They had to come from somewhere. They don't pop out of thin air and appear. They often have a base of truth within them that should be considered.
     
  17. xanadu
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    xanadu Contributing Member Contributor

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    Woah, sincerely sorry to lead the discussion so off-topic. :(

    In regards to Blink, I've discussed the topic for quite a while in my English 1 class (it was a required reading), and generally all of those points came up. My point was that though he said there were good times and bad times to thin-slice, he never specified when thin-slicing was appropriate. In response to what you're saying, lordofhats, about tense situations, I agree (at least to an extent), but many of the examples Gladwell gave were not tense situations (inspecting someone's room, selling a used car, etc).

    Anyway, again, I really didn't mean to start a completely different discussion in this topic. My sincerest apologies. Ignore me and my Blink nonsense.
     
  18. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Getting back to the letters themselves, yes, some of the rejections I've had have been standard letters (but most were at least agencies that have the courtesy to acknowledge promptly and reject politely).
    But a few letters have been helpful, and one agent took the time (and I'm sure she is snowed under) to tell me a few things I needed to adapt in my writing to make it the kind of thing she'd be interested in. She said I wasn't to feel I couldn't contact her again, and that there were several writing forums I could try.
    So here I am. A rejection letter that served a useful purpose--even though I was still *sob* rejected that time.
     
  19. Bob Magness
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    Bob Magness Senior Member

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    These are the best type of rejection letters and should always be looked at as an opportunity. If only all rejection letters were like that!

    Some writers make the mistake of assuming a rejection letter is a condemnation of their writing, when often it is just the editor telling you that particular piece isn't right for them at that particular time. It may be just right for another market.
     

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