© Norman Sperling, April 7, 2012
At FogCon last week, I listened to a panel about writers getting rejected. Of course everybody hates rejection, but practically all writers endure a whole lot of it before their stories start getting accepted.
"Rejectomancy" is the writers' art of divining why a story was rejected. The editor doesn't always say, and the reasons given aren't always the whole story.
Some editors, tired of tedious editing, won't correct bad grammar to take a good article. I'm willing to "clean up" an article if I think readers would like it. I'm also willing to format in our admittedly-quirky style, rather than forcing writers to do it just for this one magazine ... which might reject their article anyway.
I asked the writers what a rejection note should say. The responses came fast, furious, and emphatic:
* Tell what would improve it.
* "Do these 3 things and I'll buy it."
* "Please send more", but only if you really mean that.
* Tell them if they're close, even if that makes rejection feel worse.
The most emphatic point, which I really needed to hear: decide FAST. I'm terribly guilty of not getting to submissions. So instead of writing up this blog post right away (I'm also behind in blogging) I'm digging into JIR's undecided submissions. It's pretty easy to recognize the 2/3 of articles that are good for JIR. But now I should explain rejections, with constructive advice. A few are "This isn't Science humor, which is what The Journal of Irreproducible Results is about." The others take some explaining.
If you've submitted something to JIR and I haven't responded, rattle my cage, and I'll get to it really soon. normsperling [at] gmail.com.