View Full Version : A wiki for rejections

08-11-2011, 03:22 PM
A wiki exclusively for rejections has been started.
It claims to "help in determining whether you have a standard, tiered or personalized rejection."

It seems like an interesting idea, and the owner seems to genuinely want to help and encourage people, but- I don't know. It doesn't seem like the best idea to me.

What do you guys think? Good idea? Bad idea? Why?

08-11-2011, 06:06 PM
I think that a writer who's been in the submission game for a while develops a feel for the different types of form rejections. A couple extra sentences about how "engaging" the work was is one sign of a higher tier rejection, as is the request for more submissions.

But I only pay particular attention to a truly personal rejection -- one that discusses details from my story.

And ultimately, all rejections are a no. Agonizing too much about which "tier" of no you landed on is a waste of psychic energy that would be better spent on producing new work.

Instead of running to the Rejection Wiki on receipt of a no, I'd recommend recording the response, filing or dumping it, and sending the story right back out.

08-11-2011, 06:24 PM
I save the ones that say "but I would love it if you would submit future work directly to me" and toss the rest.

The wiki reminds me of Rejection Collection. That too was a bad idea. People just ended up looking either sad or devoid o' clue.

08-11-2011, 06:50 PM
Anything that doesn't ask for a rewrite, or that doesn't contain a serious request for more stories, or doesn't have a detailed critique of your story is just a no. Editors phrase them in all sorts of ways. Some are simple "Not Right For US", and others are a full page of praise that ends with a "No."

Chances are fairly good the editor didn't write either, or is just being polite.

Meaningful rejections are easily recognizable. When there's doubt, the rejection is meaningless. However it's worded, it's just the editor's way of saying, "We're rejecting this story."

08-11-2011, 07:12 PM
And ultimately, all rejections are a no. Agonizing too much about which "tier" of no you landed on is a waste of psychic energy that would be better spent on producing new work.

I'm with Phael on this one. While I'm sure it helps to assuage the wounded ego a bit, it's an easy trap to fall into trying to 'figure out' what was really meant. And that's energy really best spent on moving forward with the writing part of being a writer.

Old Hack
08-11-2011, 10:45 PM
I can't see the point. A rejection is a rejection and there's no point worrying about how it's ranked. It's still a no.

08-11-2011, 10:51 PM
Toss 'em and move on.

08-12-2011, 12:00 AM
Personally, I do like knowing if I have a personal rejection or not; sure, a no is a no, but as someone really struggling to break into the short fiction market it does help knowing if I'm getting close. The rejections that say this didn't quite fit for them, or X/Y/Z wasn't quite what they wanted, but they like my writing and would like to see more, make me happy. Not as happy as acceptances do, but still, happier than straight rejection.

But, I think it's pretty easy to tell a personal from a non-personal rejection. I'm not sure there's much value in worrying about the tier of rejections.

08-12-2011, 12:32 AM
Anything that isn't a yes is a no. Who cares about the rest?

Unless it's a revise and resubmit which is pretty straightforward.

booker c
08-12-2011, 02:34 AM
Seems that most everyone agrees that a reject is a reject and that includes me. What try to evaluate the negative? :Shrug:

08-12-2011, 03:56 AM
I see no reason for this, nor what value it can have, but then again, that is not for me to judge for others...

Right now, it looks mostly like its poetry and magazine rejections.

What I don't like about it is that it uses the name of the publication and if there are taken from an email, there could be repercussions if they do not have the publishers permission I would think...

08-12-2011, 05:46 AM
I think that's a waste of time. I personally wouldn't exert energy into looking up what kind of rejection I've received. I'd skim through, read between the lines to get to "rejection" and move on, exerting more energy into perfecting my work as best as I can. The business is super subjective, which is good when you've found the right person, but is sucky otherwise.

08-12-2011, 07:09 AM
I only pay attention the the person ones, the ones that give a nugget of advice or crit, and the ones that say, "this is right for me, however I'd love to see your next novel"

08-12-2011, 07:17 AM
Does it really matter? As everyone has already pointed out, after you look it up, figure out what kind of rejection it is, in the end all you're left with is a rejection. That time is better served just writing a new cover letter for the next submission.

08-12-2011, 07:41 PM
That's what I thought. Surely it doesn't matter what kind of rejection it is? You can tell if it's a personal rejection, right (I wouldn't know, I haven't recieved many rejections yet).

All it does is give you something else to obsess over.

08-12-2011, 09:04 PM
That's what I thought. Surely it doesn't matter what kind of rejection it is? You can tell if it's a personal rejection, right (I wouldn't know, I haven't recieved many rejections yet).

It's easy to tell a personal rejection. It has details about your story beyond your name and the title. For example:

NOT: It didn't catch my attention.

BUT: Matt's incessant grousing into his latte at the Starbucks on the corner of Main and Church in Lala City didn't catch my attention. Especially when he was wearing that Nirvana T-shirt with the torn left sleeve.

It's possible that general complaints may indicate a personal letter if they're of a sort that wouldn't apply to all MSS: "The pace was too slow, the characters were underdeveloped, the language was subliterate."

But, meh. I still look for those tell-tale details. ;)

08-13-2011, 11:23 AM
You don't have to check your email more than once a day. You don't need to check your place in the submission queue or watch the Duotrope response stats. You don't need to post to writing forums. And you don't need to know what tier of rejection you've just received.

If you take any of that to an extreme where you're no longer writing and submitting, it's obviously bad. But if the essential stuff is still getting done, and your time-waster isn't harming anyone, I don't see it as a problem. We all do things that aren't essential. So check your rejections if you're curious. Just make sure the other stuff is getting done.

Susan Littlefield
08-14-2011, 08:41 AM
I was also wondering at the value of trying to figure out what type of rejection I've received. Any kind of rejection is a no, though I admit the ones with a compliment are very encouraging.

08-14-2011, 10:09 AM
It's easy. The only rejection worth re-examining is the one with personal commentary that deals with your specific mms. And even that should be taken with a bushel of salt, because the agent didn't offer. For whatever reason. End of story, nothing to see here, move on.

Anything else, no matter how cleverly or kindly worded, is just a form letter.

Response times and stats mean nothing, because every situation is different. Rather than obsess about them, focus on writing new work, and this mantra: "I can't sell it if I haven't written it yet!"

Because we the unagented seem to regard this as a single victory or loss, when it's an evolving game. I'm closer to having a competent agent than I've ever been, I finally have some nice credentials to back up 20 years of writing, and I know that having an agent doesn't mean I will get a publisher. Or that having a publisher will mean that my novel will do well enough to earn me another contract, or even a tiny presence on the ebook midlist.

By all means, celebrate the little victories -- but don't waste time with the useless obsessions. Keep writing, instead.

Old Hack
08-14-2011, 10:49 AM
As a general rule:

A rejection which is not personalised (apart from including your name, and / or the title of your book) is almost certainly a form rejection. Don't spend any time at all trying to interpret this sort of rejection: there are a hundred different reasons you might have got it, and you'll never get to the bottom of it.

A rejection which is personalised could provide you with hints about why your book was ultimately rejected. For example, "although Euphronia is a strong woman I didn't find her convincing" suggests that you need to work on your characterisation or plotting. However, it is still a rejection.

A rejection which expressly asks for you to do something ("I'd be interested in seeing more work from you in the future", or "if you'd revise this according to my suggestions I'd be happy to take another look at it") is worth pursuing.

08-14-2011, 10:55 AM
Toss 'em and move on.


James D. Macdonald
08-14-2011, 03:09 PM
Anything that isn't "yes" is "no." Move on.

A.R. Starr
08-14-2011, 03:26 PM
Why? Just... why?

Rejections suck, but they're part of the business. Read them, sigh and have an extra cup of coffee, then toss them and get back to work.