Saturday, 12 February 2011
The Short Story Rejection System
My fourth rejection from People’s Friend landed on my doormat today. I posted it Wednesday, and it was back with me this morning (Saturday) with a brief letter telling me the storyline was too weak.
This got me thinking about my experiences with short story rejections - and there's been a fair few, I can tell you!
I considered how rejection letters and emails are worded, and the length of time the magazines took to respond. Crumbs, it sounds like a science experiment. Well here are the results...
People’s Friend, as I’ve said above, are pretty quick off the mark with their rejections – often by return. I’ve never sold to them so have no experience of an acceptance – but I know they can take several months before an acceptance is finally received.
They tend to send a standard reply with their quick rejections, often saying the story is too weak for their readers.
Out of all the magazines, they are probably the only one to let people know about a rejection at such a fast speed – which is great in lots of ways. The only thing I find with such a quick rejection is it doesn't give us time to forget the hours and hours we've spent on the story, so can sting when it plops back through our letterbox.
Again, I’ve never had any success with Woman’s Weekly. I’ve had an *almost* letter after four months, which I treasure and cling to. But boy can I report on rejections. Always standard, in my experience, and can take as long as 7 months to come through. My average rejection time is around 90 days. (Once you've cracked Woman's Weekly, acceptances and rejections are dealt with by email, I believe)
That’s Life! Australia
I’ve never had a rejection from That’s Life Australia – which isn’t as GREAT as it sounds. It’s because they don’t send any. It’s simply a case of waiting six months, and then assuming they don’t want your story. I actually like this – which may make me a little odd – but I don’t feel quite so rejected if nobody’s actually said I am.
The Weekly News
Now Jill Finley sends emails – lovely rejection emails that almost make you feel like you’ve been accepted. I’ve actually received rejections from Jill after four weeks and four months.
Just like Jill Finley, Liz Smith at My Weekly words her rejection emails in such a way, you feel quite uplifted after reading them. She does take a fair while to respond, but she is on her own, and gives all her writers heaps of attention once she gets to them. Sadly, she still only buys from those who have already sold, and only one a month.
Take A Break, Fiction Feast
I’ve only ever received standard rejections letters on especially lovely paper from TAB. The rejections have ranged from 15 – 85 days. I’d like to think the one that took 85 days to wing its way back was getting close. But you can’t really tell, as all replies are the same. I have sent a fair few stories to TAB that have gone on to sell elsewhere, which implies, for me, TAB are a really hard nut to crack.
Yours respond by email, which is always nicely worded. I’ve only ever submitted two stories to them. One was rejected after 3 months the other 6 weeks.
Yikes! All this talk of rejection is making me miserable. Let's end on a positive, shall we? I have a story in this week’s The Weekly News. It’s my first sale to them – so I’m especially chuffed.