I received a rejection letter today. It wasn’t of a literary variety, though, more of a monetary one, but it did get my brain thinking about rejection letters in general. It’s been a while since I’ve received one in regard to my work, not because I’ve been churning out some brilliant stuff, but because I haven’t been churning out much of anything. Short stories have always been difficult for me and I intend to self-publish most of my novels; eventually I might find one I’ll want to send out to be more traditionally published, though. Still, most of the rejection letters I’ve received have been fairly cut and dry. “Thank you for your submission, but we feel this piece is not a good fit for our publication. Best of luck with you endeavors/submitting it elsewhere.” Pretty standard, not very helpful or critical, but gets the point across. Generally, they give the impression that it wasn’t really a bad story, but it wasn’t a great story. They give the impression that almost anyone who didn’t get accepted got pretty much the exact same letter.

Apparently, though, not all rejection letters are created equal. My experience is fairly small; I haven’t sent out much, I’m ashamed to admit. But sometimes, especially in the good old days, rejection letters can get kind of personal. Check out this post from Cristian Mihai that’s collected a bunch of “famous” rejection letters from well-known authors. It’s pretty interesting stuff, and it almost makes me wish I did get rejection letters a little more scathing, because it almost feels like then they actually kind of care a little bit, you know?

Any good rejection letter stories out there?

One comment

  1. I got a rejection letter about 20 years ago for a short story I submitted to Woman’s Day magazine. It was definitely a form letter. My loyal best friend (RIP) refused to ever buy the magazine again. LOL.

    Besides that one time, I have chosen to self-publish and have never submitted anything to anyone. I like the control of independently publishing. Rats, I get to miss all those rejection letters. Now, only the readers can reject me. 🙂

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