You know you love hearing about other writers’ rejections. It’s like hearing bad date stories. They happen to the best of us. However, there are some pretty unique rejection stories outside of the standard “thanks, but no thanks” slip of paper.
Some markets don’t even send a real rejection letter. You just get a teeny slip of paper. As if we’re not even worth a whole sheet of paper!
Scathing Rejection Letters
A Chapel Hill-area poet, who chooses to use the nom de plume Willy Rockton, attended the Naropa Institute in 1980 and studied with Allen Ginsberg. He submitted poems to a magazine called Samisdat and they recognized the return address: The Jack Kerouac School for the Disembodied Poetics. The editor rejected the work citing:
Just because you are sucking Allen Ginsberg’s c*** doesn’t make you a poet.
A Triangle Writers member received the below letter when she first started writing, saying her piece sounded like Andy Rooney! She was mortified, but fortunately–she didn’t let it stop her!
Encouraging Rejection Letters – The Depressing Cheerleaders
Another Triangle Writers’ member, Jennifer, got a pat on the shoulder when she was shown the door: “I’m afraid I must decline on this project right now, but I do want to encourage you to continue writing and submitting…persistence pays off, so don’t give up!”
A little note I received about a travel piece: “Not for us, thanks. We need meaty narratives that surprise and tell a story nobody has told, things that will grab a reader and pull them in, which is not easy on the web. Feel free to try again with something more suitable later.”
Dead End Rejection Letters
A short email I received, in its entirety: “Thanks for your proposal. I just don’t have a place for it right now.”
And another I received: “My impression is that this would not be a workable story as it is a bit too esoteric.”
Day Late and a Dollar Short Rejection Letters
An email I received after submitting a magazine query: “This is a great idea, unfortunately your timing is off. We actually ran a story about this in our latest issue, which should hit newsstands next week.”
The Acceptance Letter Disguised as a Rejection Letter
“We aren’t sure if we love these pieces, so we’re going to let our readers decide. We are going to publish them in our Poetry Segment at Golden Sparrow Literary Review.” Also from Willy Rockton.
Have you had a unique rejection or two or three?
(Some press and market information has been omitted for privacy purposes.)