On a Scale From 0 to 10
If you read this, you are probably a writer. Most people are nowadays. All you need is a smart phone and a dream. And every writer must be in want of a publication. You submit and then you wait. And then you get a reply.
If you expected a Yes, any No is painful, unless you were subconsciously hoping for a failure. A rejection from a publication or an agent is no different. But pain level varies, usually rated on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being no pain and 10 being the worst pain you can imagine. And we, writers, are imaginative people. We feel your pain. We feel our own pain even more acutely.
Some rejections go straight for the jugular.
The volume of submissions we receive, however, makes it impossible to correspond with everyone personally.
With everyone… Don’t you feel good already? You are just a member of a vast ocean of nobodies, just another insignificant drop. Your work is no different from any other identical, putrid drops. 10 on the scale of pain.
I carefully read and consider each submission I receive. Or Thank you for giving me a chance to carefully consider your submission.
Baloney. Either you get very few submissions or you are lying about “I carefully read” or “carefully consider” through your teeth. If I gave you a chance, you blew it. 7–8 on the scale of pain.
Many agents add a twist: “Please remember this is just one agent’s opinion, and there may well be other agents who feel differently.”
Right. They are genuinely afraid that I will abandon writing after my first rejection. But wait a minute! Wouldn’t it be to their best interests if I do? Unless it was their understanding of psychology 101? Unless they were afraid that I commit suicide and my heirs would sue them? Imagine the headlines: an agent drove the writer to the brink. That was 5 on the scale of pain.
I’m going to pass on this one because I found it didn’t spark my interest.
Right. Why’s can’t everyone reject like that? Not sweet, but short and to the point. One might say it sparks. 2 on the scale of pain.
Or. We’re passing but thanks so much for giving us a chance here. No reason is given, but inoffensive and therefore it’s also a 2.
The ideal rejection implies that your work is good or even great, but the statistics and the personal choices of the editors temporarily conspired against you.
After all, no one types a form rejection. They are either pasted or, better yet, selected from the menu.
We receive a large number of submissions but can only publish one in a hundred. Since our space is limited, we must often pass on well-crafted writing.
This one is the best. The editors don’t want to reject your outstanding opus, but they must. They are overwhelmed by the sheer number of well-crafted writing (like yours). You are still great. You are still loved. You will succeed. Pain level 1. Almost an acceptance. Wipe your tears and soldier on.
Mark rejects and gets rejections.