Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Rejected! My First Rejection (Form) Letter

rejectedAnd so, my collection begins. I know I’ve been fortunate. Up until now everything I’ve ever written or submitted has been picked up for publication. That’s pretty lucky, and I realize it. But today, I’ve jockeyed into new ground. I’ve sailed into new waters. Today, I am officially A REJECT.

Here’s the e-mail I received at 3:21 pm EST after submitting “Blind Ambition” to Clarkesworld Magazine a mere 36 hours earlier (that there’s some quick turnaround, folks):

Dear Joseph,

Thank you for the opportunity to read "BLIND AMBITION". Unfortunately, your story isn't quite what we're looking for right now. Each month, we receive hundreds of submissions and while I may like many of them, I can only publish twelve of them per year.

In the past, we've provided detailed feedback on our rejections, but I'm afraid that due to time considerations, we're no longer able to offer that service. I appreciate your interest in Clarkesworld Magazine and hope that you'll keep us in mind in the future.

Take care,

Neil Clarke
Clarkesworld Magazine

As noted, my submission was turned around amazingly quick. Admittedly, my wife is dubious. She commented that she didn’t think they actually read it at all. But she is slightly biased, after all.

Anyhow. I can’t help but feel let down somewhat—who wouldn’t be?—especially since it’s a form letter and Mr. Clarke doesn’t offer feedback as to why he rejected the story. On the other hand, at least now I can move on. I’ve finally received my first rejection letter. The chances were slim anyway. Clarkesworld only publishes 12 stories a year, so even if they receive 100 submissions a month, that’s, like, a one percent chance I’d make it in.

Besides, even William Golding’s LORD OF THE FLIES was rejected by a publisher who actually commented that it was “an absurd and uninteresting fantasy which was rubbish and dull.” I’ll take the form rejection please, thank you.

I think I’ll touch up “Blind Ambition” a little bit—mostly tweak some minor historical details—and then send it out to more publishers. I do think it’s good enough AS IS to find a home, but if you’re reading this and interested in becoming a Beta Reader for me, I’m always open for more feedback. Facebook or e-mail me (link in the lefthand column).

Onward and upward!


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