05 August 2008

Rejection Letters

Apparently, a debate exists in the blogosphere about whether it is appropriate for a writer to post a rejection letter he or she received from a magazine. From my prospective, once a writer gets a rejection letter, it is his property. He can post it, use it as wallpaper, file it away, use it for kindling, whatever.  

Here at Electric Spec, we do use a "form" rejection letter, which we modify in certain circumstances. From time to time, I also include specific comments about the submission. If an author wants to share my comments with the world, fine with me. 

The issue of additional comments an author might make about the rejection gets a bit trickier. If an author has a legitimate commentary, fine. I'm a big boy--I can take it. On the other hand, if an author uses it to take unwarranted cheap shots . . . well, lets just say I probably won't be very interested in anything else the author submits in the future. 


Betsy Dornbusch said...

The thing you never want to do is respond to a rejection letter. We might write a few comments, and obnoxious as it sounds, it really is out of the goodness of our hearts that we do so. (Envision us facing an inbox of 30+ stories at 9 pm at night after working all day, getting kids to bed, maybe writing on our own stuff for awhile, and you get a pretty clear picture of a reading session.)

A personal response is not an invitation to respond. It is generally an invitation to send us new stories, though!

lesleylsmith said...

Being an editor is tough. Very often I read stories that have a really neat idea but the execution is poor, or the prose is beautiful but they don't really have a plot. The majority of the stories we reject have a lot going for them. I'd really like to have the time to critique the stories we get, but I just don't. :( That's why I REALLY recommend a critique group. Sometimes fresh eyes can really help.

lesleylsmith said...

And, yes, the word of the day is apparently "really". ;)

Betsy Dornbusch said...