Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Fun with Rejection Letters

I thought about titling this post “Win Freshly Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies” or anything that would attract people’s attention in a positive way. I decided against it, mainly because I didn’t want to get a lot of nasty letters saying, “Where’s my chocolate chip cookie?” “Why don’t I have a chocolate chip cookie?” and I wasn’t prepared to deal with that.

If you recognized this as an obscure VeggieTales reference, you win a gold star. If not, keep reading to figure out what this blog post is about once you get past the seemingly unrelated introduction.

The point is, the topic of rejection isn’t all that appealing. Who wants to read a whole blog post about being rejected, anyway?

You, that’s who. Because if you’re a writer, you’re going to be rejected. And because this isn’t your typical blog post about rejection. It is not….
  • A list of authors whose famous works were turned down by multiple publishers. Look this up on Wikipedia if you want to make yourself feel better, but keep in mind that for every bestseller that was rejected, so was a poorly written manuscript. Rejection is no guarantee of greatness. Or, as Carl Sagan put it, “They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.
  • An instruction manual of different origami creations that can be made out of rejection letters. This could be a future blog post, though.
  • A five-step plan for not caring about rejection. There is no such plan. There is, however, a one-step plan that will work every time: don’t care about the things you write. That way, it won’t affect you at all when your work is rejected. Getting published won’t matter one way or another.

For those of you who decided not to try that last method, I have bad news and good news. Bad news: I’ve gotten some rejection letters and rejection emails, mostly form letters.

Good News: I figured out a great way to cope with rejection: I wrote the worst rejection letter I could possibly receive. Then I decided that, until I get this letter from an editor, things could be worse.

Dear Incompetent Individual Who Calls Herself a Writer:


Unfortunately, the article you sent us does not meet our publication’s current needs. And by “unfortunately,” I mean that your article was the most unfortunate piece of writing I have ever read. And by “current,” I mean that you should never try to submit anything to our magazine ever again or we will assume it contains anthrax and report you to the authorities.

Besides your clear lack of awareness of anything resembling style, voice, grammar, syntax, or any other vocabulary word related to the craft of writing, I will also assume that you fabricated all of your credentials and writing experience, as no editor in his or her right mind would print anything that you wrote, except possibly as satire.

In addition, we would appreciate it if you did not attempt to contact our publication again, or our sister publications, or any company remotely involved in the writing business within a 50 mile radius of us. Please note that we have caller ID, have flagged your email address as spam, and have installed an electric fence around our premises specifically triggered by your DNA code.

Thank you for submitting to our publication, as I enjoy the sound our paper shredder makes when it tears worthless material like yours to bits.


Really Mean Editor

So, there you have it. Until you get a rejection letter that tops this one, you’re doing just fine.

I hope this gave you as many warm-fuzzy feelings inside as it did me. Now, pretend I ended with an inspirational, pep talk quote (probably not by Carl Sagan) and go out there and write stuff.


  1. - It's nice to hear you smiling in the midst of the rejection slips. I haven't submitted all-too-may works yet, and I've also received more "no" notes than "yes" ones. But you know what? If I keep submitting bits now and then, I'm bound to have more items published than if I just let them collect digital dust.

  2. I appreciated not only your Veggie Tales reference (which I caught) but also your Lemony Snicket impersonation. I always thought you would be good at impersonating him. :)

  3. Lol! This post is gold. Your Veggie Tales reference made my day and I love the idea of writing out your own rejection letter. =) Off to go create mine.... Thanks!