Friday, May 23, 2008

Even Rejections Can Be Positive!

Pam Gallimore sent me her eighth assignment today and in her accompanying letter she said,

"Since my last assignment I am disappointed to report more rejections for short stories I have submitted. However on a couple of occasions I have received more positive responses, i.e. that they really liked the story but had already printed something similar, and a rejection email from My Weekly saying that they would be happy to see more of my work. So I will keep plodding on."

This is actually EXCELLENT news! Why? Well, remember, editors are not there to offer a free critiquing service. They don't have time. They've a magazine to produce. So if an editor gives you ANY feedback, that makes you special. The editor has gone out of their way to give you some feedback. And let's face it, these days, many people only go out of their way if they think they're going to get something back in return. So the editor clearly wants something in return - you to keep sending work in.

If you get a rejection saying that the magazine has just published something similar, DO NOT BE DISHEARTENED! Be pleased because:

  • it means you have obviously written an appropriate story for that readership,
  • your story must have been good enough - they only reason they have rejected it is because it's similar to one already published or just accepted.
  • you are clearly writing at a professional level, because your work is of a similar standard to other writers.
It may well be that Pam could resubmit this story again in 12 months time, and this time she may be lucky. I've done that with articles. I've sold an article to the very same editor at the very same magazine who'd rejected it ten years previously.

Pam's also had an email from My Weekly encouraging her to submit other work. Again, CELEBRATE! It's not every day that editors invite you to submit more work is it? Yes, the story enclosed may have been rejected, but editors don't invite those people who show no signs of being able to write to send more work in do they? They only encourage those worth encouraging!

So whilst on the face of it, Pam has received several rejections, the signs are looking very good indeed. In fact, I don't think she realises just how close she is to achieving this goal. I'm confident that she will receive an acceptance soon. I would urge her not to "keep plodding on" but to get cracking immediately on the next story, because it could well be the acceptance she's waiting for.

So next time you receive a rejection, just examine the letter closely. Are there any positive clues in there for you to find?

Good luck.