Friday, February 2, 2018

Please, Reject Me.

It seems like an odd thing to ask for rejection, but that's exactly what I'm about to do. Like anything else, the writing and publishing world is changing. One of the ways that it is changing is that many publications now allow simultaneous submissions. That means I can now submit my story to more than one publication at a time, and that is a good thing. I can cover more ground in much quicker time. However, the reason this rule changed for many (but still not nearly all) publications, is because very few writers were actually listening to this rule request in the first place. So many of the publications simply gave up trying, figuring most (although likely not all) writers were simply not listening to it (although I always did).

So now we are allowed to submit our work to as many publications as allow simultaneous submissions. But in the olden times we writers also received rejection letters. We were supposed to submit to one publication at a time, and after a few weeks or months we received a rejection letter in the mail (provided we remembered to include a self addressed stamped envelope). Very often, they were simply form rejection letters, but it was still some notification that your work was not wanted. But as time went on, fewer and fewer publications were sending out rejection letters, to a point where it seemed like almost no one was sending them out anymore. So allowing simultaneous submissions became virtually essential to anyone who wished to be published. How am I supposed to know my work was free to send to another publication if no one ever bothered to send me a rejection letter?

Now there are still a few publications left that request an exclusive look at your work. "No simultaneous submissions" it will read somewhere on their submission guidelines. Fair enough. But here is my point of writing this blog on this subject this week. If you request an exclusive look at my work, you had damn well better send me a rejection letter letting me you are not interested in it, so I know when it is time to peddle my wares elsewhere.

Recently, when I checked a website where I submitted my work, and this particular website requested no simultaneous submissions, the website stated they made all of their editorial decisions and already chose the work they wanted. And I never received anything one way or the other. Yes, publishers, there really are some writers who listen to your requests, and follow them to the letter. If you allow simultaneous submissions and don't send out rejection letters, I have no beef with you. But, if you request an exclusive look at someone's work, you should at least have the courtesy of sending out rejection letters to people who didn't make the cut. This doesn't strike me as an unreasonable request. Rant over.

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