Is it just my imagination, or is the Rejection Slip an institution that is going by the boards? There are journals who send them out, of course – and some of them are e-slips. With those automated submission systems, one wonders if one’s work isn’t being evaluated by a computer. But at least you get a response from the machine.
Back in The Day, I don’t recall as many editors just blowing one off. Nowadays, you can query after six months, not get any response, and then wait another year, and never receive a rejection slip. Or get an acceptance after two years – never having heard a peep in the interim! (true story)
How come the lack of rejection slips? Well, Carol Novak at Mad Hatters Review is gracious enough to explain (in paradigmatic Carol N. fashion):
“. . . we hate sending rejection emails and refuse to do so. So please -- if
you haven't heard from us within 120 days of your submission, presume
that ‘while we enjoyed your submission, it didn't suit our current
needs.’ This has got to be the dumbest, most over-used rejection letter
language both of us editors and you have had the misfortune to read.
Lots of chi-chi journals send out letters like that. We've surmised that
lots of chi-chi editors lack imagination.”
So, in some cases, it may be a rejection of the rejection slip as a genre. In other cases, it may just be that the crush of submissions are simply overwhelming, and the editors give up trying to respond to all of them. With 10-50K publishing poets in the US alone, who can blame them??
In other cases, the editors may simply be too cool to interact with the creators of work they disdain. I suspect that may have been the case with Narrativity – which prompted this hilarious and brilliant piece by Paul VanDeCarr - which they couldn't help but publish.
And thank heavens for journals like Abraham Lincoln, which promises to laugh at unsolicited submissions. That’s incredibly refreshing – like a post-dated rejection slip, first thing in the mornin’!
Anyway, I’d be interested in other people’s experiences, rejection-slip-wise, in recent years. Is the silent “Whatever” replacing the written response to submissions?
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