Those Rs, You Know the Ones

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

ap123

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I get a fair amount of personalized or "higher tier" form rejections, usually summed up by "we enjoyed this/good read/sub again."

ok, but what's the point where you think to yourself well, maybe this place is actually not a great fit for my work and I should stop subbing here? Two of the above Rs? Twelve? Never?

Just wondering how others approach this.

Thanks!
 
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Liz_V

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I generally don't pay much attention to the "higher tier" elements of a rejection. I mean, it's nice and all, but ultimately it's still a no, y'know? So if I like the market's style and I think they're a good fit for another story I have, I'll sub to them again. To me it's more about, would I be happy seeing my story there? If yes, they're going to have to work harder than that to get rid of me. :tongue
 

Introversion

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The only ones I’ve paid much attention to are the “We liked this but it’s not a fit for us”. Obviously my diligence wasn’t due enough those times. 😛

It does feel good to get some validation that we’re a step above crayons-on-perfumed-paper submissions, but yeah, a better compliment would be to, you know, buy my stuff? 😂
 
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ap123

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I generally don't pay much attention to the "higher tier" elements of a rejection. I mean, it's nice and all, but ultimately it's still a no, y'know? So if I like the market's style and I think they're a good fit for another story I have, I'll sub to them again. To me it's more about, would I be happy seeing my story there? If yes, they're going to have to work harder than that to get rid of me. :tongue
The only ones I’ve paid much attention to are the “We liked this but it’s not a fit for us”. Obviously my diligence wasn’t due enough those times. 😛

It does feel good to get some validation that we’re a step above crayons-on-perfumed-paper submissions, but yeah, a better compliment would be to, you know, buy my stuff? 😂
Oy, this reply is messier than I'd like bc I'm still getting used to the new layout here, sorry.
Thank you both for replying! I was just wondering how others approach this.

Liz--I agree in terms of not getting excited by one rejection over another, but in terms of targeting subs, having received one or two higher tier/personalized rejections will move a particular mag higher up my list when I'm sending out a new story, but I start wondering if they are in fact a good fit once I get three of them, you know?

Introversion--lol, I definitely know what you mean in terms of compliments ;) I do pay attention to the types of rejections though, most editors will say if they take time to write something personalized--or even just the specific we'd like to see more from you--they mean it. I figure a standard form rejection means nothing, imo it's neutral. The others translate in my mind to "well, you don't suck," (that's as hopeful as I get, I'm old and cranky, lol) but after a few of those from a given mag I start shifting them further down the list again, thinking they're unlikely to say yes.
 
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Liz_V

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in terms of targeting subs, having received one or two higher tier/personalized rejections will move a particular mag higher up my list when I'm sending out a new story, but I start wondering if they are in fact a good fit once I get three of them, you know?

I think I pay less attention to this because I write all over the map. "Not right for us" -- okay, they didn't like my dinosaur mad scientist twisted humor, but maybe they'll like my wizards critique group metaphor or my dark inverted fairy tale. Maybe I won't send them the cat meets mouse-sized aliens twisted humor, but there's plenty of other horses in the stable. If I consistently wrote a lot of the same kind of thing, maybe not-a-good-fit feedback would weigh more with me -- or maybe I'd just stubbornly say "Oh yeah? Well, try *this* one!"

I have occasionally given up on a market because I've run out of things that (I thought) fit, but that's based more on their sub guidelines than anything in their rejections.

"Send us more" is definitely a thing to take seriously... but IMO, so is "We're open to submissions." Trying to predict editors' tastes is like throwing darts in a dark room that may or may not contain a dartboard anyway. I'm not convinced that adding more data does anything but make the room darker and spin you around until you're dizzy, too.
 

Lakey

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Trying to predict editors' tastes is like throwing darts in a dark room that may or may not contain a dartboard anyway. I'm not convinced that adding more data does anything but make the room darker and spin you around until you're dizzy, too.
This, and also don't forget that there is turnover on the editorial boards of these magazines.
:e2coffee:
 

ap123

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I think I pay less attention to this because I write all over the map. "Not right for us" -- okay, they didn't like my dinosaur mad scientist twisted humor, but maybe they'll like my wizards critique group metaphor or my dark inverted fairy tale. Maybe I won't send them the cat meets mouse-sized aliens twisted humor, but there's plenty of other horses in the stable. If I consistently wrote a lot of the same kind of thing, maybe not-a-good-fit feedback would weigh more with me -- or maybe I'd just stubbornly say "Oh yeah? Well, try *this* one!"

I have occasionally given up on a market because I've run out of things that (I thought) fit, but that's based more on their sub guidelines than anything in their rejections.

"Send us more" is definitely a thing to take seriously... but IMO, so is "We're open to submissions." Trying to predict editors' tastes is like throwing darts in a dark room that may or may not contain a dartboard anyway. I'm not convinced that adding more data does anything but make the room darker and spin you around until you're dizzy, too.
Thank you! and Understood, re not right for us being open to broad interpretation. I must have been unclear, sorry! I'm talking about Rs where they are specifically saying send us more. :)

This, and also don't forget that there is turnover on the editorial boards of these magazines.
:e2coffee:

Definitely, re turnover, some of them quite frequently! :)
 

Liz_V

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Thank you! and Understood, re not right for us being open to broad interpretation. I must have been unclear, sorry! I'm talking about Rs where they are specifically saying send us more. :)

Oh, I understood you; I think it's me that's being unclear. My general impression (I'm not going to dig through the rejection emails to check) is that those sorts of Rs usually go along the lines of "We really liked this story, it's very well written, some-specific-thing-that-proves-we-read-it, but in the end, it just wasn't quite right for us. But do please send us something else!" (As opposed to the form Rs, that usually just say "it wasn't right for us" without all the curlicues. ;) )

What it boils down to for me is that unless they tell me "Never darken our doorstep with your illiterate trash again" (and so far nobody has), I don't necessarily assume that the response to one story can predict the response to another story. So even multiple almost-but-not-quite Rs just means I haven't sent them the right story yet.
 
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ap123

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Oh, I understood you; I think it's me that's being unclear. My general impression (I'm not going to dig through the rejection emails to check) is that those sorts of Rs usually go along the lines of "We really liked this story, it's very well written, some-specific-thing-that-proves-we-read-it, but in the end, it just wasn't quite right for us. But do please send us something else!" (As opposed to the form Rs, that usually just say "it wasn't right for us" without all the curlicues. ;) )

What it boils down to for me is that unless they tell me "Never darken our doorstep with your illiterate trash again" (and so far nobody has), I don't necessarily assume that the response to one story can predict the response to another story. So even multiple almost-but-not-quite Rs just means I haven't sent them the right story yet.
Yup, those are the ones I'm talking about (I swear this heat is slowing my brain)

Thank you!
If I ever got that response, I’d frame and hang it in a place of honor. 😉
Yes!
 

frimble3

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Oh, I understood you; I think it's me that's being unclear. My general impression (I'm not going to dig through the rejection emails to check) is that those sorts of Rs usually go along the lines of "We really liked this story, it's very well written, some-specific-thing-that-proves-we-read-it, but in the end, it just wasn't quite right for us. But do please send us something else!" (As opposed to the form Rs, that usually just say "it wasn't right for us" without all the curlicues. ;) )

What it boils down to for me is that unless they tell me "Never darken our doorstep with your illiterate trash again" (and so far nobody has), I don't necessarily assume that the response to one story can predict the response to another story. So even multiple almost-but-not-quite Rs just means I haven't sent them the right story yet.
Or, use it in a story.
Either in original form:
"Never darken our doorstep with your illiterate trash again" was an all too familiar response to my latest op-ed piece. (Or, 'novel' or 'love letter', or, indeed 'historical about William Tyndale').
When it is published, a shout out to the publisher who tried to deter you with that line would be a nice touch.😆
 
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