publishing / rejection / short stories / writing

Why Not?

Early this morning, when I stumbled out of the bedroom all bleary-eyed second-guessing my idea of getting up before the sun has come up, I sat myself down at the table to check my email. It’s a little maneuver I do to keep from going back to sleep on the couch. This morning my email inbox gave me a simple missive: “Thank you very much for submitting work to [Magazine]. Although this submission isn’t right for the magazine, we hope you will keep us in mind for future work.” The end. No surprise there with this rejection, as it’s a kick-ass magazine, but still my reaction was, Why not?

Why couldn’t that have been a yes? I mean, would it really have messed with the balance of the universe if my story had been accepted for publication? I doubt it. Please try to explain chaos theory to me, because I don’t get it.

To most everyone, it would have been the blink of an eye, this yes. No one would have noticed. But to me, it could have meant the world.

I don’t understand the universe sometimes. Seriously, how could it hurt? Seriously, why not?*

*I guess the story wasn’t good enough. But still!

I just realized that I went down a notch in their rejections. The last one said: “Thank you very much for submitting work to [Magazine] and our apologies for the delayed response. This piece isn’t right for the magazine, but please keep us in mind for other pieces. We are interested in reading more of your work.” Now I don’t even merit the last sentence!

You know what I’m going to ask: Why not?

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5 thoughts on “Why Not?

  1. As the EIC of a small lit journal that gets about 15 submissions per week, I want you to keep in mind how senselessly subjective the whole process is.

    Say Story #1 and Story #2 come in. Editor A loves Story #1 and #2 did not appeal to him. Editor B did not like #1 but loves #2. Say we can only accept one of those two for whatever reason this time. Which editor wins out is pretty much luck of the draw. Now also say that all of us are swamped with work for the journal and outside the journal during that period. The rejection letter might never make any mention that one of the editors loved that work and the reason that piece did not make it in was about as reasonable as the flip of a coin.

    On that note, a friend got a work rejected by some pipsqueak online lit magazine and then the same exact work got picked up by an over-5,000-circulation print journal. Does that make ANY sense whatsoever? Not really.

  2. bah. That’s all I have to say. So, I’ll say it again. bah. Today, I received two rejections in the mail. I didn’t even open them — I made my children do it. And then I had them read the rejections out loud, which they did with a great deal of pleasure, because they actually believed that Journal No. 1 and Journal No. 2 WERE truly sorry they couldn’t take my story. Oh the young, they are so sweet.

    Hang in there Nova. I’ll be opening many bottles of champagne and toasting your success many times in the years to come.

  3. In case you were wondering if it was a form letter… I just found your page searching from a similar rejection text from my e-mail. It seems like they reuse the intro to the rejections but add extra comments manually. Previously I’ve been rejected from them and received no response at all, so I guess it’s a good sign to have them write back to you.

    It is a kick ass magazine, so good luck to you.

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