I feel I may have been a bit negative in my last post. My rant on the lack of respect given to writers sending off their short stories to magazines and competitions was written in haste. On reflection this is funny because it was inspired by a rejection written in haste. Last week I received an email rejection for two shorts from an e-mag just 25 minutes after submitting. The email was polite and I wasn’t expecting it as the submission guidelines said if my work wasn’t accepted I wouldn’t receive a reply. The stories I submitted weren’t written especially for submission but had successfully been submitted and performed by a theatre group a couple of years ago. The submission came from me looking over old files and trying to get unpublished stories out there, so it’s not like I spent hours crafting stories especially for them, nevertheless something in the nature of the rejection rankled i.e. the speed of it!
I just wanted to add that it’s not all gloom and doom. My last post was the most popular since my anti-jubilee rant. Ranting works in blog posts I’ve noticed. After reading it someone pointed out how positive some writing organisations are when rejecting work and how a good rejection can spur the writer on to better writing. Some rejections offer encouragement and insight above and beyond. So, based on my own notes and conversations with other writers, a name check here to good rejecters of short stories, manuscripts and competition entries:
Canongate, Curtis Brown, Fox Mason, Grit Lit, Liar’s League, Lucy Luck, McSweeney’s, Myriad Editions, Radio Four, Revenge Ink, Rogers Coleridge & Wright, Swamp, Succour, The Book Trust prizes and, of course, Rattle Tales.
There are many more I am sure (I hope!). All of the above offer insight into why you are being rejected and don’t just say ‘No Thanks’ or nothing at all. There is a worrying trend in total silence. I still can’t believe that major writing competitions, who ask for money from authors who submit to them, can’t email the results out to all who entered. So, magazine editors, competition administrators, agents and publishers, if those listed above can take the time to write in detail about why they are rejecting someone, you have no excuse to ignore a submission. A standard reply is acceptable (it takes about three seconds to email one) no one is so busy they can’t manage this simple courtesy.