Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Good Rejection

I've been meaning to do one of these posts for a while now. After you're a published author it doesn't get any easier. You still get rejected. Lately I've taken my lumps from independent bookstores, publishers, journals, newspapers and magazines trying to build the buzz, I've even gotten rejected from a few fine chicas hitting on them (what else is new) even though I showed them an excerpt of my novel and blurbs about me on my Blackberry.

So what do you do? Grin and bear it.

Yesterday I got my umpteenth rejection from Pindeldyboz, a pretty solid lit journal. I've been sending to them for 5 years now. Pretty much anything I send them comes back with comments. Mostly praise. I hate form rejections. I only think they gave me one of those, three years ago. But, they've become increasingly more positive over time. In fact, yesterday's letter seemed like a glowing review. The editor in question, since I'm dropping a name this time, actually apologized for passing on it. He wanted the story to turn out somehow differently. I think my ending was a real bummer for him.

This begs a different kind of question. How does a bummer story earn a rave review? Through a twist of Bizarro logic I suppose. I'm not one-hundred percent sure. What I do know is that I will be on Pindeldyboz pronto and sending another story their way. Maybe this time a personal essay. I think I am starting to get the hang of that.

I have a special request. Send your own story out to them. They are a fine journal and publish both in print and online so you don't have to worry about throwing out the journal and never again being able to live onto literary immortality. If you happen to get lucky let me know maybe I can ride your coattail.


  1. Nice of you to be so magnanimous. I get tired even of nice rejections after a while. As to how a bummer story can rate a rave review, in my reviewing (for a couple of online pubs), I've come across stories I thought were wonderful but the ending left me flat. Sometimes I've loved them so much I gave the author the option of changing the ending.

  2. That's very neighborly of you to let them change the ending. I think you tack on mucho brownie points in the lit afterlife.