JamestheBaker's picture
JamestheBaker from Oregon is reading The Number of the Beast by Robert A. Heinlein January 21, 2012 - 8:40am

So I just recently submitted my first story to a literary magazine and received a rejection. Now, I am not upset about the rejection. In fact, I am kind of excited about getting my first rejection letter.

Anyway, my question is, when a publisher returns to you with a rejection, stating that "it isn't what they are looking for at this time", does that mean it doesn't really fit into their story criteria or that there needs to be revisions or proofreading?

I guess I don't expect a specific answer, but it would be kind of nice to know which is which.

Gayle Towell's picture
Gayle Towell from North Plains, Oregon January 21, 2012 - 9:53am

I think it could mean either. It's one of those standard lines--a way of saying "no" kindly and with extra words. "Not what we are looking for at this time" could well mean that it simply wasn't the type of story they are looking for, or it might be there kind way of saying it wasn't up to par. Unless they take the time to offer you anything more specific beyond the form rejection wording, I wouldn't read anything into it.

Charles's picture
Charles from Portland is reading Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones January 21, 2012 - 9:57am

its probably your standard kiss off, i have a few in my email i saved. other places will tell you why (even if that is contradictory to their submission guidelines) like, canteen, they told me they only accepted essays on craft, or things that illustrated craft (doesnt all good writing do this) and therefore my story didnt belong in their publication

JamestheBaker's picture
JamestheBaker from Oregon is reading The Number of the Beast by Robert A. Heinlein January 21, 2012 - 10:09am

Right on. Thanks for the responses

Jay.SJ's picture
Jay.SJ from London is reading Warmed and Bound January 21, 2012 - 10:46am

Check that you did submit it to the right place first. IE a non fiction piece for a fiction magazine is an extreme example. That's justified. But otherwise, yeah, it's a kiss off. That phrase would load lots of emails in my inbox. Alas.

Nick Wilczynski's picture
Nick Wilczynski from Greensboro, NC is reading A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin January 21, 2012 - 11:20am

Those are my favorite types of rejection letters, personally.

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. January 21, 2012 - 10:23pm

It means resend the story but with a nude photo next time.

Charles's picture
Charles from Portland is reading Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones January 21, 2012 - 10:45pm

and if the nude photo of you doesnt do it, i hear nude pictures of estel getty have gotten people book deals before.....

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. January 21, 2012 - 10:46pm

Nah, Betty White for the win, man.  I'd tap that!

PandaMask's picture
PandaMask from Los Angeles is reading More Than Human January 21, 2012 - 10:56pm

Paula Deen nudes.

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. January 21, 2012 - 11:17pm

the phrase "swinging pendulum breasts" comes to mind.

Charles's picture
Charles from Portland is reading Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones January 21, 2012 - 11:21pm

@alien: you should read clown girl by monica drake she used 'pendulous breats' in more than one sentence. pretty awesome.

nreber's picture
nreber from Chicago is reading Recess magazine and other literary journals + Cheryl Strayed's Wild January 30, 2012 - 5:26pm

So long as you're not sending it to a political magazine and therefore look like a Anthony Weiner devotee, nude photos may indeed help.

Otherwise, I wanted to let those who are submitting know that there's a monthly chat about submitting. It's really for ladies only. This month's free, live chat is at 3 pm EST on Friday, 3 Feb. on SheWrites.com. In it you can commiserate about rejection letters or discuss positive publication experiences. You can glean editorial contact info and insights into various publications (i.e. 'what does "Not what we're looking for" mean). You can ask about and share info on formatting and contests and fellowships. If you're a chick (even one with swining pendulum breasts) and want to share/learn anything about submissions, come on over.

I've been doing this for almost six months now and have gained incredible insights, learned about new and appropriate pubs to submit to, even met friends who offered their names for assitance getting into contests and lit pubs. This I cannot highly recommend enough.

No, SheWrites and this chat can't replace LitReactor. It is, however, a good supplement. Maybe it'll help some writers get past those pesky, vague rejection letters and become exactly 'what (they're) looking for.'

Cheers!     

http://www.architecturetravelwriter.com