3/5/08

Rejection Etiquette

I have a burning question that I would be most grateful if you would help me with. I recently received a polite rejection letter, in which I was told in sum: “We are very selective, your submission came close but not close enough, feel free to keep us in mind with future projects.” I originally filed it away with a sigh, thinking it was a typical form letter. But then I started thinking (or over analyzing) that maybe his mention of future projects is at least the start of a bridge.

I am now chewing on the possibility of sending a reply thanking him for reviewing the manuscript, and briefly describing my next project. I’m thinking it would be better now, while he remembers who I am, then when the new manuscript is done and I’m back in the slush pile. But is that too presumptuous? If not, would it be appropriate to send it via email, if the rejection came via snail mail? (And no, he didn’t include his email address in the letter, but it is on the website.)

Thanks so much for the service you provide! It is a confusing world out there.
The mention of future projects might be part of their standard rejection letter, or it might actually be a positive indicator. In our company, we don't open that door unless we mean it.

If you like this publisher, then yes, send them your next project—when it's done. Sending an e-mail now for a project that isn't ready to submit won't do you much good because they'll forget anyway. (We don't log our thank you e-mails, only our submissions.)

If this publisher is like us, when a new mss comes in the first thing we do is check our log to see if you've submitted to us before and read our notes. If the notes say, "liked her writing but project wasn't what we were looking for" then you'll move up to the top of the slush.

As to whether to communicate via e-mail or snail mail, if they indicate a preference, respect that. If they don't, then it probably doesn't matter. If their e-mail is listed on their website, then they're open to receiving communications that way.

1 comment:

Rachelle said...

This is great info and I thought of a question to go along with it. So if you take notes on submissions received and say I sent something to you when I first started writing and you put in your notes, "Writing needs work (or it sucks) or whatever" Does that mean I'm branded for life with that publisher? I think they would still look at the work but would a first negative impression make it harder later on? The comment about good writing does give me hope, however for some good rejection letters I've received and makes me want to get a bunch more submitted!