Thank you for submitting "[Titled Censored]" to The Edge of Propinquity semiprozine. I am sorry but this story does not meet our needs at this time.
Editor, The Edge of Propinquity
I submitted it to you about 30 minutes ago, did you even read it?
(My thought: That's a nice email. Thanks. Of course I read it. Maybe I should give you a bit of an idea that I work very long hours and why I immediately rejected your story.)
As it happened, I did get home right then from a very late night out and had time to wind down. I did read it and the tone is very much not right for the Edge of Propinquity. I felt no reason to make you wait a few weeks while I worked through the rest of the queue when, upon one read over, I knew I would not accept the story. I always give every story a read through as soon as it arrives to make sure it meets the guidelines.
Well its good to know it was read. I have the sneaking suspicion that alot of these magazines do not read many submissions, particularly if the writer submitting does not have a long list of publication credits to their name. Beginning writer, no pub credits, toss the story before reading, which is very offensive to the writer who labored on the story no matter how swamped the mag is with submissions. When I got a response from you in such a short time I had wondered if you might not have done this as well. I am glad to see it wasn't the case.
Cheers & Slainte
(My thoughts: Wow. OK. Time to give this guy an education. So, he's really new. Better to help him out while he's young and stupid. Give him a chance of not alienating every editor he meets.)
Dear [Name Censored],
I have to disagree with you. Having been in the industry for a few years and read slush for several venues, I can tell you some things with certainty:
1. Unless you muffed the submission guidelines, your story is always read - at least in part. As editors, we know what it is that we need to look for in our submissions. Some stories are obvious "no" due to tone, topic or lack of technical skill (but even that can be worked with).
2. It is the editor's dream to find the -right- story. That is what we live for. We want to publish you (no matter what your publication history is or is not) if you have written what we want or need. I have published first time sales and rejected long time pro authors. It is the story that matter.
3. Despite what it may seem like, editors are a writer's best friend. They are not the enemy.
I understand it seems like a daunting path to get published but eventually you will if you continue to write, have patience and persevere.
Thanks Jennifer for these words. They are encouraging. My situation is that I have always had a love for writing and for reading but never tried to make it a career, despite being told all my life that it was my talent and that I should try and make a go of it. Well now I am trying to make a go of it, with the hopes of eventually supporting myself as a fiction novelist (a starry-eyed dream perhaps?). I have written 300 pages of a first novel, and over the last two and a half months have starting sending my stories away for publication for the first time. I have limited myself to the pro-paying and semipro-paying markets at this time (ambitious?) and have received my share of rejections. This is particularly hard because I have been reading some of what I feel are really lackluster stories in some of these magazines (Not TEoP,) and the only reason I can see why they have been published is that they author has a long list of pub. credits to their name. I have had a story accepted recently in the pro-paying magazine Buzzy, and hopefully more acceptances to come. I have just finished writing a story specifically for TEoP, keeping in mind themes about a hidden legacy amid the mundane world, with elements of the supernatural. Unfortunately, the story ran over the word limit and stands at 7700 words rather than 6000. I have been trying to chop it down, but I feel that each bit is important to the overall story. I am wondering if the 6000 word limit is firm or if there are exceptions? If it is firm, then I will proceed to the chopping block, but may lose a few choice bits. Once again, thanks for your time and encouragement.
Cheers & Slainte,
(My thoughts: That's one hell of a paragraph. But, it sounds like I got through to him. Go me! Oh, huh. Not going to engage in the criticism of other markets. Let's just see if this next story is any better than the first.)
Go ahead and send it on in, in the proper format, of course.
End result: It wasn't any better. I rejected it and this author's immediate response was: I am a horrible editor, a callous human being, and am a goalie against genuine substance. In essence, I am THE MAN and I must be put down.
Moral of the story: Some authors will only see editors as the bad guy and cannot be helped. They will bite the hand that attempts to feed them.