Studying the “Nice” Rejection

Being a writer, self has quite a thin skin.  Each rejection feels like a judgement (“They don’t like me!  They really don’t like me!”)

She’s had super-quick rejections.  One came about five minutes after she paid her $3 on-line submission fee (She’s decided not to reveal names of these super-quick rejectors.  Blog readers will just have to do their own research.  It is good for the soul)

The one from Prairie Schooner cut deep because two good friends had been published in a recent issue, so self figured … WRONG!  Since that time of humiliation, PS’s rejections to self now come in more stately fashion:  never less than a month.  Success!

Last week’s quick rejection was from West Branch.  They’re way over on the east coast, but geographic location doesn’t count anymore, since 80% of literary journals now use Submishmash.

Today, she heard back from Word Riot, four days after she sent them a piece.  This is a record.  From her lengthy research on Duotrope, Word Riot has among the fastest turn-around times of any literary journal.  Some people say, “hours.”  So, self sent in a crazy story, and waited to hear back that day.  Nothing.

On to the 31st, more peeking at Submishmash.  Nope, nothing yet.

New Year’s Day, nope!  Self’s heart fills with esperanza!

January 2 —  DAAAAARN!

Here you go, the letter that is probably the “less enthusiastic” version of the nice rejection.  Self wishes she had archived the earlier rejection so she could compare the two.  Is this just wishful thinking, or is there just a smidgen of encouragement in this letter?  Read:

Thank you for sending your work to Word Riot.  We’ve read it carefully.  Unfortunately, we didn’t feel it was quite right for us.  If you have something else you think is right for our magazine, please feel free to try us again in the future.


Word Riot Editor xxxxx

It’s the “If you have something else” that really gets to self.  Of course she has something else.  She has tons of “something else”!  In fact, a whole filing cabinet full of “something elses”!

*     *     *     *     *

This story does have a happy ending.

In Fall 2012, Word Riot gave her one of her fastest acceptances ever.  In fact, within an hour.  For “A Dictionary of Devotions.”

Moral of the story:  Never give up.  And don’t take anything personally, self you wuss.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.


5 responses to “Studying the “Nice” Rejection”

  1. I started writing my first short story, “Boys Who Do the Bop” in 1976 (I was born in 1950). I finished writing it in 1982 and promptly submitted it to The New Yorker — and it was rejected. Over the next six years I submitted it to publications large and tiny (including two re-submissions to The New Yorker) but nothing but rejections came back. I wrote no other stories, just kept sending out “Boys Who Do the Bop”. Then, in the spring of 1988, the story was finally accepted — by The New Yorker! (By this time I was 37 1/2).
    Rick Rofihe, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief,

    Below is the current Anderbo rejection letter: is an all-volunteer organization. We are able to use less than 1/2 of 1% of what comes in; most submissions receive a response within 6 to 96 hours.

    Effective August 1st, 2011: Due to the increasing number of submissions we are receiving, we cannot consider more than one submission from any individual in a 3-month period. Other literary sites of interest:*


  2. Thank you much for taking the time to drop by and leave the links, Rick. Oh, I do appreciate the quickness of Anderbo, believe me.

    As for the long saga of “Boys Who do the Bop” and its eventual acceptance by The New Yorker, I think that’s worthy of a whole essay, maybe a book.


    Marianne/ aka “Kanlaon”


  3. Now I want to read “Boys Who Do the Bop”.

    You are the only other living person I know who has used the word “dolt” in recent memory– the other was Tita Doreen.


  4. *Obviously, Tita Doreen’s not living anymore. Duh, to self (myself, not you Self– ha ha). I meant living as opposed to in literature…


  5. You are right, we must read “Boys Who do the Bop.” I will immediately apply my excellent internet research skills to unearthing this story, and secure permission from The New Yorker (I’ve been a subscriber for 15 years, but never once did archival research on their site) to access, etc.

    Stay tuned!

    About “dolt” — I use it, because it’s a perfect description of who I *am” SOMETIMES. Maybe I’m channeling Doreen! When do we see each other again, m’dear? I’m a fugitive in Manila, but an heiress in Bacolod, BWAH HA HAAA!


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