Thursday, April 23, 2009

That's One

Yesterday is a day of great celebration on the Burning Zeppelin. I received the following letter yesterday (names changed to protect the people who's names are none of your business and text changed slightly to provide relevant links):

Dear Mark Simmons,

Thank you for sending us "The Invisible Kingdom". I've reviewed the story and decided not to purchase it. I enjoyed reading it and found it well written and very funny - here's the thing, though, there wasn't really much "horror" to it, although the implication that these people may be telling the truth certainly puts it in the "weird" category, it seems like weird fantasy to me. I wonder - have you tried submitting it it PODCASTLE? We don't share submission 'tween the PODS and I think your story would be a much better fit over there, so if you haven't tried it, you should consider it. As it stands, unless the story had some more horrific detail, it doesn't seem to be for Pseudopod.

Minor detail - if you are still shopping the story around, there is a minor grammar mistakes you might want to fix:

"while two adults I took to be her parents looked on and beamed to the guy at the Quizno's..." should have a comma - "while two adults I took to be her parents looked on and beamed, to the guy at the Quizno's..." or they are beaming to the guy at the Quizno's.

Also, I found the line "She had this weird look in her eyes, too. I can't describe it. It's like she was crazy, but not." seemed like an odd thing for Natalie to say, considering we're told she's a Psych student a few paragraphs later - I'd expect her to phrase it better than that (maybe not correctly, but attempt to use the lingo)..

Thanks for submitting, and I hope my comments have been at least a tiny bit helpful.

Sincerely,
Ur-Karrassas, Master of Blood

Seriously. With rejections like that, who needs acceptances?

Well, an acceptance would have been nice - you know, money and fame and all - but I'm pleased with this letter for several reasons. First of all, I got some very solid constructive criticism. I agree with all his points, and I'll do my best to address them all. Secondly, there's nothing nicer than a magazine editor telling you "I enjoyed reading... [your story] and found it well written..." except possibly the sentence continuing with "and that's why we'll buy it." As rejection letters go, this one is a peach.

Finally - I barely need to explain this because I'm sure you all have a grasp of causality - in order to get this letter of rejection, I needed to send a story out in the first place. Which is precisely what I did, about two weeks ago. Sending stories to magazines of any kind is an unprecedented step for me, and I'm understandably very proud of myself.

Which brings me to the real meat of the post: the Burning Rejection Letter Challenge! I am challenging myself to get not one, not ten, but fifty rejection notices by the end of the year. I will report on my progress here as the rejection notices pile in and perhaps post any letters that are particularly interesting. The only rule is that I will readdress the entire challenge should I actually get an acceptance letter.

Who's with me?

* * *

  • No, seriously; who's with me? Don't make me do this alone!
  • Do any of you have any thoughts on the details of my challenge: the time period is too long or too short, the number of rejection letters is too high or too low? Any other advice or comments on the content of the challenge?

5 comments:

Mbrownmx said...

Irony ftw:

"Minor detail - if you are still shopping the story around, there is a minor grammar mistakes you might want to fix:"

Most people would probably say:
"Minor detail - if you are still shopping the story around, there is a minor grammar mistake you might want to fix:"

Filamena said...

Congrats on the beautiful rejection, and yeah, that's totally almost as good as an acceptance.

(Thought: When writing to podcastle(esq 'zine) you should mention that the editor of psudopod(esq 'zine) thought podcastle might like it. That could be a good in.)

Anyway, 50 rejection in a year? I'm in.

Scattercat said...

Already waaaaaay ahead of you.

Becca said...

Congratulations!!!! From what I can tell, getting a personalized rejection means a lot.

And even if it doesn't work out with Podcastle, keep in mind you can continue to shop your story around. And while you're trying to market your story, you can always work on another one ;)

Anyway, I'll be cheering you on!

Mark said...

@ MbrownmxYeah, I noticed that...

@ FilamenaAwesome. You're on.

@ ScattercatYou're an inspiration. Also, I'll be emailing you presently.

@ BeccaThanks for the good cheer.