The first couple rejections I got, all form rejections, I wrote back a quick "Thank you for your consideration," or something along those lines. Then I read a blog post by someone stating that it's a bad idea to respond to a rejection, because you're just wasting the time of the editor or agent who wrote you. If every rejection gets a response, that's almost twice as many emails for them to wade through, right?
So I stopped, worried about being that irritating person who jumbles up their email. I imagined that person on the other end of the email getting the email and groaning. "Don't they know how full my inbox is?" they'd ask themselves. "How annoying! Adding that name to my list of people never to publish..."
But the person inside me who is accustomed to writing thank you notes and being polite and acknowledging contact in some way, shape or form, winces every time I get a rejection and don't respond.
|CC by Sean MacEntee|
I received a very nice personal rejection on September 30. I actually closed that emailed rejection feeling more confident than when I submitted in the first place. You see, it was a big magazine, one that has published many huge names, and I submitted because I was afraid to. Doesn't make sense? I wanted to challenge myself, and because my first reaction was "No way will I make it into this magazine," I decided to submit anyway. If you don't do what you fear, how can you get where you want to be?
It may seem like my fears were justified by this rejection, but no. Specific things were complimented, but I was told the storyline wasn't different enough from others they had published. It closed with an invitation to submit a different piece, along with the date they'd be reopening for submissions. I think that's a positive thing. And if it isn't...don't tell me. How often does one get to feel good about a rejection?
Back to the topic, though, I didn't send back a response. It ate at me, though. I felt like he had taken the time to send a personal response, along with feedback, and I owed a thank you. But I flashed back to that blog discussion and was afraid to hurt my chances.
Finally, I went online and started looking around. I only had a few minutes, but I found a few interesting tidbits. One thing that I found quite valuable was an editor talking about why he stopped doing personal rejections. He said it took time, but he was glad to do it. That is, until it became an invitation for people to argue with him. Somewhere in there he mentioned that it was always nice to get back the note saying "Thank you for your consideration" or thereabouts. He didn't say it helped in the future, but that's not why I wanted to send them.
The conclusion I came to, after my little bout of research, was to respond with a polite, but sincere, email in response to personal rejections only. There's no need to respond to a form letter. I intend to continue researching this, though, because who knows...perhaps some day I'll get a personal letter from someone who previously sent a form letter, all because I didn't try to fight the rejection and sent a quick thank you.
My current stats:
4 pieces submitted
1 piece accepted
3 pieces rejected
I'd love to hear your feedback on how you feel about thank you notes in response to rejections. Do you send a thank you? Do you skip it? Or does it depend on the rejection? Ever had an actual editor or agent tell you whether it was a good idea or not?
May you find your Muse.