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.
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.
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
Right on. Thanks for the responses
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.
Those are my favorite types of rejection letters, personally.
It means resend the story but with a nude photo next time.
and if the nude photo of you doesnt do it, i hear nude pictures of estel getty have gotten people book deals before.....
Nah, Betty White for the win, man. I'd tap that!
Paula Deen nudes.
the phrase "swinging pendulum breasts" comes to mind.
@alien: you should read clown girl by monica drake she used 'pendulous breats' in more than one sentence. pretty awesome.
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.'