A few months back I got yet another “rejection email” from a publisher. Over the years and following the advice of other experienced writers I have learned to accept rejections with an open mind and not take them personally.
Now I know I have an unusual name that people find hard to pronounce. So when I email editors, agents, and publishers I always go the extra mile and try to explain in my cover letter that I am a mother of two, etc. What was weird about this particular rejection email was that not only had they addressed me as Mr. but they didn’t even have the title of the book right.
I had a cover letter, a synopsis, and title page included in my email. And in all of these documents I had the title mentioned not once, not twice, but several times. Could it be a typo then? How could they have missed it? There was one answer to all of my questions. No one bothered to read anything I sent them. Period. Would it have made any difference if I had sent a letter instead of an email (not that they are accepting letters anymore)? I didn’t think so. It was better to receive a rejection email than a letter, it made it less formal.
Donna Bucian Currie wrote that when she sent a story to a now-defunct literary magazine here’s what happened.
“I waited the required time for a reply, then added a month before I sent my first letter (with appropriate SASE) asking about the status of my piece. I waited, then sent a second letter a month after the first.
Just as I was about to launch a third query, my manila envelope returned with my manuscript nestled safely inside. I looked for a cover letter or form of rejection, but found nothing. I riffled through the pages, thinking there might be some communication stuck inside my manuscript.
Jokingly, I turned the empty manila envelope upside down, opened it wide and shook it vigorously. A small piece of paper no bigger than the slips found in fortune cookies, came wafting out of the envelope and settled on my lap. On it was typed “sorry not for us” and nothing more. No signature, no initials. And no punctuation or capitals, either, for Pete’s sake.
I wanted to cry. Thinking about what a heartless response I’d gotten, I began to wonder: Did someone type this and cut it out just for me, wasting a whole, larger sheet of paper, or did they have so many rejections they couldn’t afford anything bigger? When I pictured how many of these tiny rejections they could cut from an 8.5 x 11 sheet, the rejection felt much less personal.”