Yay, the first rejection of 2007!
It’s not exactly a cause for celebration, but it was a relatively positive rejection (as these things go), and I did my best to tweak the story to the feedback provided. The story is already out courting another editor. I tried not to overdo the rouge and lipstick this time.
People who read my journal might notice that I don’t name the markets to which I’m sending stories, and I don’t refer to them explicitly if I’ve been rejected. This is not out of coyness, but is due to a combination of vague superstition and tact.
The Internet is easily-searched, and information is cached for a long time. I have a policy of not shooting my mouth off about people and/or businesses online. Also, I just have a natural inhibition about discussing my submissions. I don’t even like to give the title of my stories. My previous entry was a bit of a departure for me. In my mind unsold stories are malleable. They don’t become fixed until they find a publisher.
I’m also philosophical about rejections. They rarely upset me. Sometimes they puzzle me. Often they cheer me up (I’m bizarre, I know). On occasion the feedback has clashed with my instincts as a writer, and in those cases I will always side with my intuition. It’s not that I disregard what I’ve been told, often I will pay close attention, but I realise that the story didn’t suit that particular editor or market.
I’m always thankful to receive feedback from an editor, even if I disagree with his/her opinion. Most editors swim in oceans of submissions, and to respond in some fashion to each one is hugely time-consuming. The standard form rejection, without any useful indicators of why one’s story failed, is the most frustrating rejection for me.
It’s hard to improve without feedback.
In this regard, I would like to point readers to an entry on Nick Mamatas’s journal (the editor of Clarkesworld Magazine), which is a solid example of how to piss off an editor, how not to respond to rejection, and how you can have your reputation shredded online. I hope never to suffer that fate.