A Positive Rejection? Say What?

After submitting several pieces of work to publications, I sometimes don’t know how to open my email. I mean, should I open it with a high sense of expectation or take my time – as in who jumps in line for a rejection notice? It seems either way, there’s a bit of excitement, as in rolling the dice in Vegas. I might be receiving an acceptance notification, but, then again, maybe not. Being a writer means, if you’re smart, you’ve taken the time to be fitted with a stylish rhinoceros skin. But still.

I found a call for submissions for pieces about Viet Nam on the Writer’s Relief website, an author submission service (http://client.writersrelief.com/writers-classifieds/anthology-calls-for-submissions.aspx). I submitted a short story called “Behind the Triple K” to the publication and waited. In a timely manner, I received this email:

Dear Carol,
Thank you for your submission.  After careful consideration, we have decided that “Behind the Triple K” isn’t quite right for us. However, we are interested in seeing more of your writing. Please keep us in mind as you consider future submissions.
Best,
The Editors.

abstract-portraitWell, not quite what I’d hoped for. I read it again. What a gentle letdown, and encouraging. But then I thought, now what? What do I do with this?

I mentioned the email in the personal essay class I recently blogged about. UC Riverside instructor Maggie Downs shared an interesting article: “Submit Like a Man; How Successful Writers Can Become More Successful,” by Kelli Russell Agodon. I really appreciated this revealing and informative read.

Turns out male writers who receive an email like the one above will submit work again right away. Female writers tend to wait and may or may not submit to the publication again at all. Here’s a small excerpt. According to Agodon’s article, a woman’s inner dialogue may go something like this and I quote:

“I don’t want to seem pushy, but I do want to get them my work. Maybe I should wait a few months so I don’t seem desperate or so I don’t irritate them by submitting so fast. Do they really want to see more work, or were they just being nice? I’m sure they want to see more work, but I should probably wait a few months, I wouldn’t want to be an imposition and it would be better manners and more respectful to wait a bit. Or should I? Yes, I’ll play it cool and wait a few months. I wouldn’t want to impose.”

As I said, my inner dialogue was simply, Now what? I felt neither pushy nor wussy. Here’s the moral to the tale: submit to the publication again, as the editors have indicated. Don’t wait.  They couldn’t be clearer.

The email above for my Viet Nam story “Behind the Triple K”  came from a journal which publishes four times a year. The call for work about Viet Nam was for a themed edition, something the editors publish periodically with a specific submission date.

However, they also accept rolling submissions, which means they take submissions all the time.

I’m not quite sure what to submit for a follow-up, but with rolling submissions I’ll be able to submit again right away. At the moment, I’m culling through my files for a piece of existing work that’s submission ready or almost.

I’m also taking another look at the Viet Nam story. Is the ending a little too dark? Just not to their taste? I’ll try another venue and submit elsewhere. Onward.

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About cmwriter

I'm a writer ... of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. I blog about writing, short stories, poetry, books, plays, and thoughts on life. Love reading and travel and being with friends!
This entry was posted in Authors, fiction writing, Inspiration, Looking for Inspiration, Reading, short story, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to A Positive Rejection? Say What?

  1. Try elsewhere too. JK Rowling did….

  2. Sunny says:

    Great reminder for women Carol! I’m not surprised. Women do the same thing when receiving a low ball job offer. They think…”Should I counter this? What if they resend the offer or I start off on the wrong foot with that company.” We need to put on our big girl panties and take action.

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