I wear three hats – FundsforWriters editor, freelance writer, and mystery author. With the first, I have the painful privilege of accepting and declining submissions. In my other two roles, I’m the recipient of the decision.
As the writer/author, I’ve been politely declined, unfortunately ignored, laughed at, and derided tongue-in-cheek by editors (and their assistants) when my work wasn’t accepted. Therefore, as editor of FundsforWriters, I attempt to handle rejection in a nice manner.
I reply to every submission, usually with a reason if the piece was unacceptable. I’m booked through 2015, so there is no shortage of submissions. When a concept shows serious potential, the submitter receives an invitation to resubmit an edited version. Some do and some don’t. Most, however, are eager to try again.
Keep in mind I’m not your normal editor.
Still, however, I have writers who become irate or question my logic. The ones who complain the loudest are those who resubmit and I do not accept the piece. The argument usually sounds something like this:
“I did what you asked and you still reject it? I’ve invested all this time and effort and you still don’t want it? How dare you waste my time. I’m done.”
When you submit to a magazine/newsletter/publisher, you are asking that someone on the other end take their time to read your work and hopefully pay you. You are one of many. Ten, a hundred, maybe a thousand others like you will be considered for the same slot. How would you like to spend an entire day going over submissions knowing you’re only allowed to pick one or two, and that all those other people will be unhappy with you if you take the time to reply?
So, to all my writing friends out there, when you pitch to an editor:
First, be happy that you receive a response either way. It’s expensive to send rejections to so many people. That effort could easily explode into a full-time position with no hope of return on investment. Yes, it might be mannerly to offer a rejection, but when some rejection recipients get upset over the answer, you might understand why it’s easier not to reply at all.
Second, be happy that the reply included editorial remarks. Someone cared.
Third, be ecstatic if the reply leaves the door open to resubmit. Someone is reaching out.
Finally, never bite the hand that has the potential to feed you. If you are rejected after all that back and forth, chill. The person on the other side took time with you. This is an opportunity for you, even if you are rejected. Get mad and they’ll never consider future pieces. Yes, most of them will remember.
I’ll bet it never crossed your mind that you ought to be paid less because someone had to edit your work two or three times, either. That publication could’ve even taken a loss buying the piece, when you look at the hourly pay of that editor.
Be positive. Be proactive. Be thankful. Be nice. Trust me, it all comes around.
BIO – C. Hope Clark is editor of FundsforWriters, a nationally-known speaker, and author of The Carolina Slade Mysteries and The Edisto Island Mystery Series. www.chopeclark.com / www.fundsforwriters.com