Wet Socks

06 Jun

I throw open the squeaky door.  Mister stirs and grunts from his nap in the swing but I ignore him.  I’m on a mission.  The maillady came and I’m expecting a response from a publisher.  I step out the door and tiptoe around the puddles on the front porch.  I will not get wet socks like yesterday.  I hate wet socks.  I open the lid of the mailbox, reach my hand in, and pull out the cold stack.  Donation request from Saint Someone or Other.  Bill.  Coupon for formula I don’t use.  Then, there it is.  I tear it open.  Inside is a 1/4 sheet of paper.  A 1/4 sheet!  I don’t even have to read it.  My husband’s stash of Girl Scout Somoas doesn’t stand a chance.

 How do you deal with a rejection letter?


Posted by on June 6, 2011 in Publishing


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2 responses to “Wet Socks

  1. aneducationinbooks

    June 6, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    If it’s a form rejection, I put it away and move on.

    If it’s more personal, I am happy that someone took some time for me.

    Good luck! None of this is easy.

  2. Mary

    June 7, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    My boss enlarged one until it was posterboard sized and wore it like a sandwich board for Halloween. Some of my students collected them on bulletin boards/wallpapered rooms in their house with them, observing wryly when they had been accidentally rejected more than once from the same firm. I hang on to them as contacts. I know it sounds bizarre, but I when I find a grant or another funding source that is a good fit for the organization, I pass it along using the contact info from the rejection letter. Or if I read an article that discusses the organization favorably, I send a note of congratulations. I’ve made a few professional connections that way and grown my network.

    If it is a more personal rejection letter, consider calling and following up with the publisher — not so much to ask “WHY won’t you publish this?” but to ask if you can set up an informational interview. During this informational interview, ask about their organization and get the inside scoop. It takes a lot of heart, but think about it this way: people who turn down your work really didn’t want to. They WANT to help. They WANT to encourage good writing. If they can’t publish your piece, there are other things they can (and will) do to support you. Doing an informational interview with someone who declined your work can be an enormous help. You might find you have an issue that can quickly be fixed (maybe you sent the work to the publisher with a page missing or with pages out of order — I don’t know). Or maybe you find you have an issue that isn’t solvable: maybe that particular publisher is stuck in a rut and is only accepting vampire books for the preschool set or something. At the end of a (10 minute long but seemingly longer) interview, you could ask if the publisher can think of another publishing house that might be more open to your work — and then you’ll have a name to drop as in “Dear Other Publisher: So and So Publisher recommended I submit my story “Insert Catchy Title Here” to you.


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