It’s post-a-rejection-letter Friday!

Apropos of the ridiculous focus on whether or not posting rejection letters is common practice/professional/legal/cuddly/appropriate/blue rather than on the exposure of crude and offensive racist language, I’m officially declaring it Post A Rejection Letter Friday. Here’s mine!

Hi Shaun,

Thanks for this, but I felt it was very overwritten, especially for a first-person story told in the present tense. Perhaps if the character were looking back at these early events, if he had enough distance to both recall the experience and evaluate it, the story would be more interesting. As it stands, by keeping him solidly in the moment, the character has little to do but recite every action he takes, only a few of which are compelling.

Hey, check out all those racial slurs that aren’t in this rejection letter.

Context: this, and those links I posted yesterday.

16 Responses to “It’s post-a-rejection-letter Friday!”
  1. Willow says:

    Hey Shaun,

    This is a great idea! I posted one of my rejection letters here: Hopefully there’ll be a lot more joining in.


  2. From an agent who shall remain unnamed to protect the holy (you’ll understand in a minute) – she had asked to see a full MS and I was hopeful and then came a rejection written LONGHAND at the bottom of *my own covering letter to her* – and it said, I kid you not,

    “I’m sorry, I won’t be able to take on your MS because I’m going into the seminary next week.”

    Well, hallelujah.

    Bit of a sudden decision, was it? I mean, did she just get struck by Vocation, like Paul on the road to Damascus…?

  3. Luke Jackson says:

    I posted one from Nick Mamatas to the same story Sanders rejected here:

  4. Shaun CG says:

    Excellent letters, everyone! I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who thought this would be a fun exercise. :)

  5. Moon’s addition to “Post-a-rejection-letter Friday!”

    I wish I could figure out how to do the cool quotes code, but here’s a couple anyways. :)

  6. Christie says:

    A favorite of mine:

    >Dear Ms. [my name at the time],

    Thank you for sending “Sweetwater Kill” but I’m going to have to pass. I’m afraid this tale started a bit slowly for my taste, with the protagonist standing by as a rather passive witness, as back story was delivered. Perhaps you might consider introducing the goal of the protagonist up front, and introducing the central conflict a bit more quickly.

    Again, thanks for your submission.
    I wish you all the best,

    [Very Helpful Editor]
    [Pretty Cool Online Publication]

    That editor was dead on and got a thank-you back.

    Also a source of solace for me a while back was – glad to see they’re still around.

  7. Shweta says:

    Cool idea!

    My addition’s here:

  8. Kynn says:

    Here’s my rejection!

    Fess up, how many of these ones being posted are from Clarkesworld?

  9. Shaun CG says:

    You’ve got me there, Kynn – mine’s from Nick and a few other people have also admitted as much.

    These are all great letters – I’m glad to see so many examples of people receiving useful feedback and/or being willing to share!

  10. almostgotit says:

    Waaah! How did I miss THIS?

    Googled ya, though, because this week I’m doing rejection letters, too. But I’m doing them ALL WEEK LONG! If you’re not quite over rejection just yet, I hope you and your readers will still join me.

    It’s All About Rejection, All Week Long!

    Please join us on by

    (a) posting on your OWN site (don’t forget to send me a link!)

    (b) emailing me your own rejection stories, poems, and rants — or make a Rejection collage, magazine cover or poster. Post on your own blog or send it to me to post almostgotit(at)

    (c) leaving your own depressing or funny-depressing stuff right here in the comment section.

    We’ve got one week, so wallow away!

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