My latest rejection letter came from a new source. I had never submitted to Highlights before. Knowing they probably receive hundreds of submissions every day and am not surprised by the result. What did surprise me is the format of the rejection letter.
I’ve seen many types of rejection letters over the years. The worst are the over copied, barely readable forms that look as if they were printed two to a page and torn in half before being stuffed into envelopes by angry interns. The best ones use my name in the greeting and include a bit of information as to why my work wasn’t accepted. A bit of constructive criticism is always appreciated as well.
“All editors have preferences. Our wisdom and judgement are limited. What we reject here may be eagerly accepted elsewhere. many a noted writer has climbed to success on steps built by early rejection slips. Don’t get discouraged!
We are returning your manuscript because:”
Under that is a list of eighteen possible reasons why the editors didn’t select my submission. I take a great deal of satisfaction in what they didn’t check, things like:
It lacks a fresh approach, or, it lacks a tight focus, or worse yet, we do not believe that the subject would appeal strongly to our readers.”
What is checked on my letter is: “It’s not suited to our present needs.” Yes, it’s very generic and it could be interpreted a number of ways but I’ll take it as a positive in this case. I even sent them the following response.
“Thank you for considering my manuscript and for the informative rejection letter. As a longtime writer I get them often. It’s part of the business I’m in. Not everyone does it as well as Highlights and I appreciate your approach. Perhaps one day I’ll hit the right note on the right day. Until then, I’ll keep trying.”
Very soon after I received as response. And it was addressed to me. By name.
Thank you for taking the time to write. We’re happy to hear that you will not let rejection discourage you. You might be interested to know that we receive approximately a thousand manuscripts every month and can purchase fewer than one percent of those.
Best of luck with your writing!
It was signed by a real person. Not the generic, “The Editors” on the original rejection. Now someone at Highlights knows my name and has reason to think of me in a positive way. That’s a big step when seeking publication in a new market and I will be submitting to Highlights again very soon and addressing my submission directly to this editor. I hope she remembers me. I hope she accepts my submission but if not, I will keep trying.
This isn’t the first time I’ve used rejection to get my foot in the door with an editor. I often target a publication,setting a goal for acceptance within a certain time frame. Sometimes it takes longer, sometimes I never get there. But it works often enough that it’s always part of my overall strategy. To me “no” means “not yet.” Wish me luck.
What do you do when you receive a rejection letter? Do you have a rejection to publication tale to share? I invite you to post it here.
- Sweet Rejection (famelessramblings.wordpress.com)
- As Things Go (kestewart.wordpress.com)
- Why did I get rejected? (writeanything.wordpress.com)
- 218 Words and the Bedpost Spike – Guest Blog (schizophrenicwriter.wordpress.com)
- Why Is The Submissions Process So Strict? (efharvey.wordpress.com)
- Baby laughs hysterically at dad’s rejection letter (sfgate.com)