Dear editors of any and all magazines and/or book publishing houses:
I received in the mail today a wonderful example of how a writer can actually be encouraged by a rejection letter. Now, I realize rejection letters are the lumps of coal with which we writers build a big enough pile of our efforts so that, when the lighter fluid and matches arrive, makes the ensuing successes burn so much bigger and brighter. They are a fact of the writing life, and if there are any writers who have somehow come across this letter and do not accept that they are going to get rejected and be forced to listen to other’s opinions that their writing isn’t of acceptable quality…well, I say suck it up or quit. Anyways, editors, I know your schedules are busy. I know form letters are the mark of professionalism and efficiency, and I for one am actually happy at times to receive a rejection letter, because it means you at least took the time to validate my existence at all. But here is a nifty trick that this latest editor from Weird Tales used in rejecting one of my stories (which they did with admirable grace and diplomacy).
They used a different color pen, underlined a few words in the form letter, and signed their name in red. This showed me that a human soul did indeed give a few seconds thought and emotional anguish over turning my tale down. And I say without sarcasm that this knowledge means a lot to any writer, anywhere. (though I don’t speak for any writers who don’t want me speaking for them)
Am I making too much of too little? Perhaps. We’re writers. Our egos are supposed to be bigger and more fragile than those huge Chinese vases you see in the museums (See a writer’s ego here!). So make the photocopies, sure. Just toss aside the black pens. Blue is okay. Red works, but sometimes brings back bad memories of graded English papers. Green is nifty. Underline part of the letter. A single word will do, even if it’s the Sincerely, or Insincerely part.
You’ll be amazed how that small of a thing will turn a writer’s frowny face into a smiley face, even when reading a rejection letter.
P.S. I see that smile.