Thursday, August 14, 2008

How to Win Friends and Influence Writers

When writers congregate around drinks, as they often seem to, one of the topics that is often tossed around is the rejection letter. Many have their special horror story about the worst, most off-handed, or downright insulting rejection they've ever received. You can tell a lot about a market from their rejection letters.

As of yet, I don't have much to add to that conversation. And the people at Dark Recesses Press are not helping. They sent me the nicest rejection letter I've ever received. They've given permission for me to repost the letter, so here it is:

Good evening John,

Thank you for submitting your story, "Death on the American Family Farm" to us at DRP. We enjoyed reading it and even pushed it for further consideration; however we have decided to pass on it. Ultimately the ending was its downfall. Most of the readers felt it was rushed and a little flat.

That aside, the opening characterizations are magnificent and a lot of fun to read. You did a great job of filling the story in with small details that others may not have included. Instead of feeling wordy, it felt colored in.

I don't need to wish you luck in the future placing this story, I'm sure you will.

Keep writing,

Shanna Wynne

Dark Recesses Press

The dark recesses of your mind are our playground... and we don't play fair.

What I get from this is that they really did like my story. It made it into the second round of reading, which is good, and they are very specific about what they liked and didn't like. Rejection is most bearable if I get a sense that they really did take time and read the story. Sometimes, I get a form rejection and I have to wonder if they really read my submission, or even if they understood it. Clearly, DRP did.

And hey, good advice! I'll polish the ending on this one and send it to another market, but I definitely will keep Dark Recesses in mind next time I have a good story.