A Good Rejection; and Another Not So…

First the good rejection. My story, “The Last Ride of Harvey Mushman” survived the slush pile at Abyss & Apex, an award winning semi-pro magazine. The personal rejection that arrived this morning from the Editor-in-chief was very straight forward. There were no problems with the story other than it didn’t fit the personal tastes of the editor.
I can see that. Not everyone would automatically like stories with a motorcycle race as the setting. What I am taking away from this rejection is that there were no problems with the story, craft or otherwise. It just was not a good fit. Off to another market with this one. ASAP.

Now the bad rejection… “History” sat at a market for a very long time. They had been closed to submissions for nearly a year when they announced recently that they were reopening to submissions on August 1st. Previously, their guidelines page had told authors not to query the status of stories, that the slush pile was so large that they needed time to deal with it, but not to worry they would contact everyone as soon as a decision had been made.
With the re-opening to submissions announcement they removed the ban on submission queries, and since they were going to be open to submissions in a few days, I decided yesterday that it was a good time to query.
Yesterday, I got a form letter rejection.
The response to my query was very fast. Either they had decided to reject it before my query and failed to inform me, or they made a snap judgment about it after sitting on it for 455 days. (That’s right; a year and a quarter!) Very unsatisfying. Very.

I keep my chin up because the good rejections are out numbering the bad ones.

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One Response

  1. Congrats on making at least some progress with Abyss and Apex. They’re not an easy market to crack.

    On two separate occasions I had a story sit at a market for over a year. In both cases, I finally queried and got back a quick form rejection. (although in another case, I got back a quick apology and they ultimately accepted the story)

    Now, I’m aware of the volume of stories some of these markets are getting. That’s why most of them have several levels of slush readers. But to me, if a story sits for a year, it means one of two things: either it passed a couple of levels of slush and was in serious consideration before it finally got rejected, or the market is sloppy in handling submissions.

    Call me a prima donna if you must, but in the former situation, I feel the market owes the author at least a comment or two about why the story was rejected. After all, the author submitted to them and left the story (in most cases exclusively) at the market for a year. I think it would be professional courtesy to offer a basic “this didn’t make it because…”

    Without any such comments, I find myself wondering if it is simply the latter situation at a market, with stories getting lost in slush piles for too many months.

    I’m sure you’re like I am: if a story is GENUINELY under consideration, I will wait patiently as long as it takes for them to make a final decision. If, however, they’re simply unprofessional in managing their slush, then I’d like to know so I can find another market.

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