Rejection! -but at least it’s on paper this time

30 04 2011

A while back I mentioned that I was going to start submitting to the venerable Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, a market I haven’t submitted to since 2005. With a back catalog of around 50 pieces that I think are worthy of publication I decided to start mailing them off, one by one, to Mr. Van Gelder, editor over there at Old Iron Side. I sent out the first piece on the 18th of April and was pleasantly not at all surprised to have received my rejection in just eleven days. The text of the rejection was… to the point:

Dear Mr. Porter

Thank you for submitting (your story), but I’m going to pass on it. This story couldn’t hold my interest, I’m afraid. Good luck to you with this one, and thanks again for sending it our way.

Sincerely,

Stephen Mazur                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Assistant Editor

Ouch. I mean ouch. It couldn’t hold his interest. I read that as “I made it to page four out of sixteen.” Well at least he said he was “afraid.”

The part of this process that makes me ask the perennial question, “Why the hell do I do this to myself” is the fact that for paper submissions you have to send a sase so that your rejection letter comes to you in an envelope addressed in your own hand. Today, as I addressed my next submission and accompanying reply envelope, I thought, “I’ll be seeing you soon, little dude.”

But onward and upward. I’m afraid that another asst. editor at F&SF is going to be reading four pages of my work. Suck on that!

It’s still nice to have a rejection with the F&SF letter head.

Well back to work. Stories don’t write themselves… very often.

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4 responses

1 05 2011
Scott W. Baker

Yes, those bad boys sting. Do they make grim reaper postage stamps for those SASEs? I have a stack of hose assistant editor rejects and one from GvG himself.

If I’ve learned anything from county fairs, it’s this: if you throw enough plastic rings, one is bound to land on the bottle’s neck so you can get an oversized stuffed novelty. Keep at it.

1 11 2012
Paul Anobile

I usually take rejection letters in stride. If an editor does offer me any constructive criticism, I will take it and use it to improve my story. However, when Stephen Mazur has rejected my work, his letters never offer constructive criticism. If fact, he is unnecessarily cruel (i.e.. “I couldn’t finish reading it!” “This doesn’t work for me!”). Well, I have had stories published (“First Time Mission” and “The Ultimate Lift”) shortly after being rejected by Mazur.

Paul Anobile

1 11 2012
silverstairs

Honestly, if I don’t have something constructive to say I have always just passed- gently. Don’t get me wrong, there have been stories that have landed in my lap that I have made me wonder what grasp the writer has on the English language, but when I have worked as an editor I have had way to much on my plate to waste time getting snitty. Congrats on the publications. Perhaps you would send me the links to where they be?

4 11 2012
Paul Anobile

They would be at crossandcosmos.com for “First Time Mission” and “short-story.me” for “The Ultimate Lift.”

Paul Anobile

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