We’re Not Publishing Your Story, But Here’s Why We’re Awesome Anyway

Olivia Olson
Oct 24 · 4 min read
Photo by bruce mars from Pexels

Dear Writer:

We can’t tell you how honored we are that you sent your story to us for consideration. We understand that writing a story is like bearing a child, and sending it out into the world just to watch it get rejected and humiliated and deemed completely worthless is a kind of pain no person should ever have to endure.

That said, we have to reject your story. We don’t want to, but we absolutely have to. It just didn’t have that oomph for us, you know? That je ne sais quoi that sets the stories we do publish — the ones not written by you — into a different, some might say better, class.

We’d like you to know that we read each piece with care. We’re not like those journals who skim a writer’s bio and pick stories based on writing credentials. We sit down, roll up our sleeves, and pore over every word before selecting which ones will be good enough to get included and which are amateurish wastes of time. So, if you were thinking that maybe we passed on your story because of some prejudice on our part, you couldn’t be more wrong — our choice was purely based on how good or how not-good your story is.

I bet you didn’t expect us to be so long-winded about this, did you? That’s because we’re not stuffy, soulless intelligentsia who send off impersonal dismissals of your writing. We care enough about you, the writer whose story we are unequivocally rejecting, to prolong this whole experience, to really drag it out. You should take a moment to appreciate us for that.

I mean, do you know how long it’s taking me to write this? Probably longer than it took you to toss off that vignette you expected us to publish for all the world to see. Can you imagine if we, the last bastion of true literary short fiction in this world, included it among some of the great young minds we’ve had the honor to publish? And we’re talking young young, by the way. Check out Addison Taylor’s fiction here when you get the chance — this wunderkind is only in third grade, but some of her insights are completely out of this world. Sure, she can get a little bit cliched from time to time, but nothing like some of the garbage we see from grown adults, believe us!

So, as you can see, including your work just wouldn’t be appropriate. In fact, this might be a good time to reread our submission guidelines here, along with some of the pieces we actually did think were worth the pixels they took up on our screens.

That reminds us — as of last year, we are a completely online journal. You’re welcome, environment! So if you’re wondering if our choice was based on space or budget, the answer is no. Including your story would cost us absolutely nothing, and still we’re gonna pass.

That’s pretty much the gist of it, writer. In case you’ve forgotten since you started reading this, we absolutely do not wish to publish your story at this or any other time. It simply does not suit our needs as we only have a need for well-written work by real writers with skills.

Best of luck placing this in a less selective journal,


P.S.- Just by submitting, you have automatically signed up for our daily newsletter. Hopefully you’ll be inspired by all the truly worthwhile work we’ll be sending, and we hope that it will be a persistent reminder of all that transpired here in this email.

P.P.S.- The link to our Patreon account is here — it takes a lot of time and energy to pull good writing from the slush pile of weak, derivative dreck that we receive on a daily basis, so please consider supporting us on our mission! Please note that no amount of money could convince us to change our minds about your story, but it’s donors like you who make it possible for us to continue publishing! Again, in your case, we’d be looking only for financial support, not more story submissions.

P.P.P.S.- Lastly, you might want to check out this essay we recently published: “How I Gave Up Writing and Found Joy in Being a Talentless, Workaday Nobody with No Literary Ambitions Whatsoever.” We actually reached out to some of your former writing teachers to confirm, and we all decided that you’d really benefit from reading it over. There are some pretty big words in it, but we think you’ll get the general idea. Best of luck to you in all your future endeavors, especially those that take time away from your writing.


Medium humor. Large laughs.

Olivia Olson

Written by

I’m a writer and librarian in metro Detroit. Check out my list of publications at oliviaeolson.com.



Medium humor. Large laughs.

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