Rejection Letters

Why the hell…?

You hear the stories about different books getting rejected x number of times, how y number of publishers turned them down, or z agents all not wanting to work with the books’ authors, but you never really see this happening in real time. And it makes sense – no one wants to really wants to broadcast their failures. But I’m just shameless enough to want to show you what trying to make it in this industry really looks like. This page will start off slow, but will probably take off soon.

In the interest of being respectful, I won’t be publishing the name of the publications who reject me. The point is that you get to see what rejection looks like so those afraid of it won’t be anymore. I am proud to have finally gotten over that fear and actually put my work out there. It doesn’t matter how mind-blowingly awesome your work is, you can’t get accepted if you don’t send it out.

Happy reading ~*

Y’ALL – I got my VERY FIRST personalized rejection today (10/01/20). This is going at the top, because I can’t not put it there. It and the very first rejection ever are probably going to be my favorites for a long time. There’s a tiny bit of feedback, of which I kinda wish there was more for improvement’s sake, but I’ll survive. Here’s the content:

Thank you for submitting your work to [publication]. As writers ourselves we truly appreciate the time and effort that goes into crafting short fiction. Although we are passing on the opportunity to publish your story, we wanted to let you know that your submission was well received and seriously considered for publication. There was a lot to like about it. Here’s what one of our readers said:

“Some great descriptive moments. Not quite as fully-formed a narrative as we like to see, but please keep writing. You have talent and you are going to get published. Keep at it and good luck!”

We have to make some hard choices in planning each issue, and that means disappointing many deserving writers such as yourself. Trust us, we know what it’s like.

We hope you’ll consider submitting to [publication] in the future. We mean that.


[each editor’s name]

Me: *internal and external squeeing*

Dear Charlie Nicholson:
Thank you for sending “An Errant Crow.” After careful consideration, we’ve decided against publishing this submission. Our staff is available to read anytime between September 1st and May 31st.

The Editors

This one was sent awhile back, on January 22. It was my first submission ever, and I am so glad to have gotten rejected. Why? Because it has ripped off that band-aid and now I know exactly what I’m in for.

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to read and consider your submission, but unfortunately we decided we won’t be able to include it in [publication]. We appreciate the time you took to send it to us, and wish you luck in placing this work elsewhere.

Finally got this one May 14th. This one took forever to come in, so I had assumed long ago that it was going to be a rejection. This is, again, fine. I’ve recently started to look back at this submission and have some ideas for improving it anyhow. I’m excited to get back to work on it!

Thank you for your submission to [publication]. Although we must decline your submission this time, we appreciated the chance to consider it. Please do not interpret this as a judgment of your art as a whole. Individual tastes matter a great deal in decisions like these, and though we have to decline this round, we encourage you to keep writing and creating. The world needs it, and you.

I just got this one on August 2nd. Probably the nicest form rejection I’ve ever gotten both inside and out of writing.

Dear Charlie,
Thank you for submitting “Happy Solstice” to [contest name]. Unfortunately, your piece has not been selected as a finalist.

The [contest name] Editors

This was the rejection sent on November 16, 2020 for an entry into a contest for a super duper short story (250 words max).

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