This week, after waiting months (and months) for what I thought was a sure acceptance, I received the dreaded soul-crushing rejection. Sorry, not right for us, it said. Your story had some of what we were looking for, but lacked in others.
I was devastated. I had been so sure I’d nailed it, with good characters, an original and interesting premise, and the right mix of suspense and sex. Or so I thought. But what was the problem? Did they not like the premise? What, exactly, was lacking?
In the interest of bettering my writing, I ran the risk of asking the editors. After I hit Send, dread filled me. The editors would hate me for pestering them. I would be blacklisted. Most certainly, I would be ignored.
To my surprise, the email was passed on to the reviewing editor, who took the time to explain specific problems. Her comments were enough to give me hope. My writing wasn’t total crap after all. I missed a few key elements, which, for this story, I have to decide whether I’m willing to change or not. But moving forward, I feel better armed with knowledge of specific points I need to aim for.
Most importantly, I was heartened by her last sentence: Good luck, and I look forward to future submissions!
I know most editors are overwhelmed with submissions and don’t have the time to critique every one, but even a few helpful hints make all the difference between leaving a writer dismayed, or arming him or her with suggestions to improve. I’m grateful this editor took the time to respond. I have work to do!