Rejection, Thy Name is Pain

When marketing your copy, which is worse:  to be rejected or to be ignored?

Hard to say.  They both hurt.  Of the two, I’d rather be rejected.  I like closure.  I like to know where I stand.  I am not patient.  Do not, editors of the world, waste my time.  Tell me quickly.  Let me heal, cope, select another market, and move on.  Don’t, please, leave me lingering in limbo, unsure of whether you hate my idea and are too lazy to tell me so or whether you’re actually considering it in an acquisitions meeting.

As Inigo Montoya says in The Princess Bride, “I hate waiting.”

So … let’s say the rejection comes.  The email is tweet-brief:  “No thanks.”

Informative?  No!

Helpful?  No!

Why?  No clue.

Can we find a larger source of writer frustration than this enigmatic terseness?  Because if I knew why my query was turned down, I could fix it.  Yes, I could.  I really could.  Maybe the editor would then like it.  Maybe it just needs trimming or there’s a different quote I could insert.  Let me try.  Let me try.  Let me try!

“No thanks.”  About as communicative as Detective Cho on The Mentalist.

Editors are under no obligation to explain their decisions to us.  Hard for writers to swallow, but that’s just the way things are.  Also, they don’t have the time.  If they did have the time and the inclination to throw us that tiny bone of “If you’d just written a tighter page four” they fear the floodgates will open, and they’ll be hit with a revision that they don’t want either.

Dr. Phil would say, “Tell me, Writer.  What part of ‘no’ don’t you understand?”

A big part.  A huge part.  What does this “no” mean?

I don’t want it.  I can’t use it.  We just bought one better than yours.  My budget is blown for the rest of the year.

If the editor said any of those things it would keep me from imagining — with typical writer histrionics — that my writing stinks!

Instead, I’m left with nothing but my aching ego and some teeth-gritted determination to sell the manuscript despite you, Editor One.  I’ll try another market, another editor.  I’m certain Editor Two has more perspicacity and kindness and money than you anyway.  Editor Two will love what I’ve written.

I hope.

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