Finding Inspiration and Hope in Form Rejection Letters
Short story writer explains why form rejections are to be appreciated
Welcome to our weekly column on the ins and outs of lit mag publishing, with contributions from readers, writers and editors everywhere.
By Bennett Durkan
If you’ve submitted to literary journals, you’ve received a rejection. If you’ve received rejections, you’ve received a form rejection. If you’ve submitted to more than one journal, you’ve probably seen enough form rejections to familiarize yourself with their format.
We all know how they go: They thank you for submitting in the first line, they express condolences that they couldn’t accept your work in the second line, and then, in the third line, they explain the subjectivity of the industry. Sometimes, the form rejection will encourage you to keep submitting, promising you will find publication. Sometimes, the form rejection will contain an addendum inviting you to submit during the next submission window.
Variations may appear. Not every journal follows this strict outline. Still, the variations do not vary too much. To use a cliché, when you’ve seen it once, you’ve seen it a hundred times. My condolences go to those writers who actually have seen it a hundred or more times.
These form rejections can lead to a depressed state.