Monday, October 29, 2007

All rejection is not the same...

For writers rejection is part of the job. Successful writers learn quickly that a tough skin is as important as a laptop and and wi-fi. However, it is important to note that all rejection is not the same.

The first rejection letter I got hit me hard. My feelings were hurt. I looked at that form letter with pure resentment and stuck my tongue out at the handwritten note the editor had included on the top of the letter.

"You got a added note?!" a writer friend asked. I had missed the lightbulb moment. The fact that the editor had included an extra little bit of information and encouragement was a sign she saw the potential of my writing, but the idea and the pitch wasn't quite right for her magazine. See, getting caught up in the rejection, I had missed a little golden nugget.

Another rejection letter I kept just because it was beautifully written and presented. I had pitched Conde' Nast's Bride Magazine and the rejection letter came on beautiful, heavy weight linen paper with an enchanting matching envelope. "Now that's a rejection letter," I thought out loud. I realized the style of rejection letter was a big indicator of how the magazine was run and more importantly how you should present your query. Bride's rejection was a reflection of the high caliber magazine. Any query of that publication needed to match that rejection letter.

Then there are the standard rejections: the rushed, crooked photocopy of a form letter in which the intern spells your name wrong. This letter lets you know the publication gets tons of queries and if yours doesn't stand out it's to the intern with you. (I love interns by the way, I was one and completely understand). The other kind of rejection letter is the one that comes via email. It's quick, simple and can sting, especially if it comes almost immediately after you send your query.

Here's the thing, it's not just the rejection letters, take heart if you actually receive one. Often you can query a publication and wait years without ever hearing anything back, even after several follow-ups. So if you get a rejection letter, count yourself lucky. If you receive one with an added note, consider yourself almost in there and if you receive one on beautiful paper put it in your scrapbook!

What's your best or worst rejection letter?

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