And they come with no warning,
nature loves her little surprises.
Continual crisis!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Questions and Rejections

I'm taking a short break from reloading and organizing the shelves and I check email. Strange Horizons just rejected My Favorite War Stories, but it's a really excellent rejection letter from one of the editors and the rejection basically boils down to SH really isn't interested in Cthulu horror. Fair cop (and I sort of knew that, but it's the editor's job to reject the manuscript, not mine to pre-reject and they didn't specifically say in their guidelines that they don't want it while they do specify other horror items they don't want). The editor then talks a little about the story, makes some comments about things that I questioned myself on (the first part of the story, which gives legitimancy to the characters, but doesn't advance the story much beyond that, and it's a matter of that it's a darling I didn't want to kill, my bad).

Anyway, I'm getting really nice rejection letters these days. Is it okay if you get a really nice rejection letter to respond with a "Thanks" email? I've seen other editors take submittors to task about bad responses to rejections (I'm thinking specifically about Nick Mamatas right at the moment). But is it okay to send a "Thanks for your time and comments. I really appreciated them. Maybe you'll find the next story I submit works better," kind of note?


Jim Wright said...

Steve, the fact that the editor took the time to give you a little critical analysis and a personalized rejection letter is nine kinds of cool. Almost as good as getting a check. You are this close to making the big time.

Ken McConnell said...


I wouldn't bother responding to nice rejections. Just write another, better story and submit it. Over time, the editor will become familiar with your submitions and at some point, he may buy one. Then you can thank him.

Until then, it's a pretty impersonal arrangement. It's real nice to get personal feedback, but it's not required. Show them that you are getting better and eventually they will bite.

My two cents. :)

Jim Wright said...

Oops, sorry, meant to respond to your question. But I see Ken beat me to it. What he said.

Steve Buchheit said...

Jim, oh yeah. I've gone from form letter, to form letter with personal note, and now I'm getting these personalized (somewhat to all) rejection letters now (The Slushgod is the only hold out so far, and I'm coming for you JJ Adams, one of these days I get something other that, "It just didn't grab me."). It does jazz me up at night. As I say, I get the nicest rejection letters these days.

Ken, thanks. At this point I have been leaning toward the "no response" thing. As it may seem somewhat creepy if they don't know me personally. Rejections to me don't hurt. They spur me on. There must be some kind of masochistic pyschosis that covers that. I put it down to my own bull headedness. But I feel like syaing something about, thanks for the nice letter and for the comments, because I know that takes more of their time.

ThatGreenyFlower said...

Keep in mind that I am not a writer, and therefore I don't know anything. But in my personal worldview, a thank-you note is NEVER out of place.

Steve Buchheit said...

Greeny, see, that's how I was brought up as well. All though I under stand the other side of this argument and it increases the load on the editor's email inbox.

ThatGreenyFlower said...

Send it via snail-mail, make it brief (3 sentences max), and they'll never forget it.

Anonymous said...

I think the best way to handle that is to include a thank you in your next submission, on your cover letter.

Steve Buchheit said...

And thanks to Mer for suppling my week's Homer Simpson moment. Thanks, Mer. That is the idea I needed. You are made of awesome!

Everybody's help was just excellent. You all are great.