?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Ys

Seer of ghosts & weaver of stories

(You are very much not forgotten)

Previous Entry Share Next Entry
Got my first rude-yet-hilarious response to a rejection sent out today!
Ys
ajodasso
Let me start by saying this: in my first two reading periods as a Poetry Department co-editor at Strange Horizons, which were one month each, I saw right around two hundred submissions each time. Due to a tremendous backlog of accepted work that we need to publish, we have so far this year switched over to two-month reading periods in which we can only accept as many poems as we normally would have accepted in a single month (i.e. we can only accept half as many poems for the time being). This means four hundred poems per reading period for each of us. It makes the selections process that much more challenging, but also that much more rewarding.

Keeping that in mind, the following email is how not to respond to a rejection. I sent out a large number of rejections today, as June's submissions so far have tallied around two hundred, and I expect to see the same amount in July. Only half of my current reading period is over, and I still have a great deal of work ahead. I enjoy reading the things that you send me, and I'm also eternally grateful that it's taken a relatively long time (about a year, in fact) for someone to send me a gem of a response like this:

Actually my poem about men participating in Atomic Testing at sea is the best think you have ever received. The reason you don't like it is because you don't have a literary mind. You should be on ebay selling fake Jewelry. Good luck.

[NAME REDACTED]


The best think, even! This kind of behavior will get you automatically blacklisted on my watch, plain and simple: not because it offends me (my thin-skinned days with regard to petty and/or nasty emails, at least, are long behind me), but because it's juvenile and entirely uncalled-for. We respond to your submissions with cordiality and respect whether we're rejecting your work or accepting it, and we expect the same in kind.


  • 1
:) In RL I work in academic publishing for a high-ranking international journal - we desk reject about 60% and about another 30% go after the first round of reviewing. Given all that we get surprisingly few letters like that though we have had them of varying degrees, up to and including 'you're stupid and unqualified to make judgements on my work of unparalleled genius' or 'I'm going to slag you off in every venue and forum I can'. Sometimes you have to run damage control, but most of the time you just shrug and carry on - occupational hazard - but we always remember those people and no-one who's gone off on one at us has ever actually got what they wanted.

...oh wow. I bet you get really special crazy responses, given the academic component.

We do, but what's almost worse are the ones who are so tremendously grateful for the rejection - I mean we do make a fairly big deal about being constructive in our rejections, but even so. Sometimes you can feel so guilty, even when it's a no-hoper, like someone who gave us 3 pages describing his train journey to Chennai and the good-hearted people he met on the way and how that good-heartedness was good for business...

Well, I'm not sure I'd mentally batch those who are tremendously grateful for the rejection into the same basket as those who are being flat-out rude, but I see what you mean.

Oh no, I wasn't lumping them together, just the responses you get sometimes can throw you.

The best ones are of the 'don't you know who I am' variety though - we can get a good laugh out of those ;)

  • 1