Received an email rejection for Running of the Deer today from John Bowker, Associate Fiction Editor over at Ideomancer. The letter was very personalized to the story and he explains why he won't be purchasing it, even though he liked parts of it.
Now, I did send John a thank you note, and I meant it seriously. It was a really nice rejection letter and he liked much of the story. In fact (if I may quote him) he says "there are a bones of good story in there." If you don't think that didn't make me squee, you don't know me very well (hint, check the name of the blog).
But here's a good teaching point for new writers. Mr. Bowker's main concern over the story is he felt there was extraneous workcount for things not related to the story. I disagree with his assessment. Many readers of the story keep asking for more detail. When I write, I tend to up word count with most revisions, because, as my wife says, "(I) know what's going on in (my) head, (I) just forget to explain it all" (yes, I cut words for final, and many of those original words get rewritten). However (and here's the big "however") all that doesn't matter because Mr. Bowker is the Associate Fiction Editor for Ideomancer. He felt the story was padded. Fair cop. Because he's the friggin' editor. He knows his market, he knows his readers, he knows his other editors.
Some new writers at this point would get all wacko. Just ask Nick Mamatas about this (he's banned people for life from submitting to Clarksworld for being wacko, and even though he's leaving, those bans are still in effect). There's also a website out there that has angry writer's responses to rejection letters (it's not worth my time to google it for you, because that's bad behavior you all shouldn't be emulating). Get over yourselves people. They're the editors. They don't care what my readers have said or asked for, they don't care if my Mom thinks it's a good story (actually, I don't share much of my writing with my Mom), they care what their readers ask for because that's how they stay in business. It's their professional judgement.
As Wil Wheaton says, "Don't be a dick!" This is good advice for us all in many aspects of our lives, but very much so for our writing careers.
So, in conclusion, thank you Mr. Bowker for not only reading my story, but taking the time to personalize the rejection letter. It is very much appreciated (including the "bones" comment, I don't know if that was intentional, but it made my day). I'll reread the story to see if I can cut more (well, I can always cut more). I like Ideomancer, and I will certainly send more stories and poetry your way.