bad form

08/10/09 09:56

I arrived home to find the longest form rejection I've ever received. I actually thought: Do I really want to write for a publication that takes three paragraphs to say "Not for us"?

Beneath the illegible signature were the typed words: Editorial Assistant. So it didn't come from the editor I'd contacted, but rather a lowly assistant, who doesn't have the audacity to tell his or her bosses that prolixity in the form of form rejections is not appreciated by the recipients. As soon as we see the words "Dear writer," we know what's coming. We don't need to read that "there is no graceful way to respond to a query with a form letter" (especially when what we sent was a finished article). We know that magazines receive a "great number of submissions" and we don't believe they give a hoot what kind of success we have with our "query [article] elsewhere." And the fact that they keep calling our articles "queries" makes us doubt that our submissions were given "careful consideration by a member of [their] editorial staff."

Writers are among the least gullible and most rejected people in the world. And the longer the rejection, the greater our skepticism.

By Thomas Swick • Category: writers

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