Thursday, January 27, 2011

The death of the rejection letter

When I decided to get serious about writing I took some writing classes, went to some conferences and eventually wrote some stories that I thought should be books or should grace the pages of a children's magazine.
So I sent out my stories complete with Self Addressed Stamped Envelopes. Then I would wait for the letters to come back to me. Rejection letters. Most of them were form letters. some were rejection post cards or rejection slips of paper. I did get one letter that was very positive and encouraging so I hung it on my wall. The letter made me feel like I was able to grab an editors attention at least enough to get a personal rejection letter sent back.
Fast forward a couple years and I'm sending out a new picture book manuscript. I'm sending it to editors who have been at conferences I've attended. Now I notice that most of the places I send it to do not want a SASE. No SASE= No rejection letters. Awesome.
I didn't really like those rejection letters anyway. I'm all for saving trees and I know that publisher have less time/money/resources. But I always read about writers who got 250 rejection letters before they sold the manuscript that changed their life. Or writers who used the rejection letters to wall paper their office or who save all the letters and then burn them all when they sell their first book. I never did either of those things, mine went straight to the recycling bin, but I did feel like each rejection letter was one step further in the publication journey.

What are your thoughts on rejection letters? Do you have a collection of them? Is it easier to keep writing without getting rejection letters in the mail?


Angela Felsted said...

I don't know, I kind of miss them. Not really nasty ones, of course, all though constructive feedback would certainly be helpful.

But sometimes, without the letters, it feels like I work hours and hours to submit something to an agent or editor. Proofreading, making it just right, making sure you have everything you need.

Then, when I don't hear anything at all, not even "dear author, this sucks and I can't believe you didn't catch this obvious typo." It's like I'm a little kid sending Santa letters in the mail. Like, do these people really exist or are they a figment of my imagination?

Carrie said...

Angela- I totally agree. Without the actual rejection letter a part of me keeps hoping that my manuscript simply ended up falling behind a filing cabinet and hasn't been read yet instead of ending up in the great recycling bin in the sky.