Saturday, 18 December 2010

My Year in Rejections

Rude and generic and tactless and infuriating: here are my worst (and best—some people are nice) pooh-poohs for 2010! (Names and mags have been omitted to avoid headaches).


We cannot use – JB



Thank you for your recent entry to the ---------- ---------- Science Magazine Science Fiction Society Contest. We're sorry it was not successful this time round.

We thought you might like some personalised feedback as to how your entry was scored on average by the seven judges against the four judging criteria, as stated in the rules on the website.

We hope this may be helpful to you in identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your writing.

Your entry scored maximum points for originality, good for writing quality, fair on Edinburgh relatedness but low on plausibility.

Ken McLeod has advised everybody who entered to keep writing and submitting, as every published author has had many, many rejections first!

Thank you again for your submission.

Best wishes,



Thank you for submitting to ------------.
Alas . . .
Regarding "Inky Beast,"
We know that it might make you cuss,
or compelled to kick up a fuss —
but we can't tell a lie,
we gave it a try,
and the story is really not us.

Best wishes,
---- -------
Slush Editor


Dear M.J. Nicholls,

Thank you for submitting your story "The Legend of Liz Armhole" to --------'s -------- Fiction. Unfortunately we've decided not to accept it for publication. The humour of the story didn't meet its target with me, I'm afraid. I know that humour is a very subjective thing, but the story seemed to be trying to make lots of different types of jokes at once, with the result that it felt rather uneven in tone.

Hope these comments aren't too infuriating, and best of luck with your future writing.


---- ---------

Co-Editor, -------'s ---------- Fiction.


Dear M.J. Nicholls,

Thank you for your submission of "Sumfink Good." I regret to inform you that this story was not accepted for publication.

As I'm sure you're aware, this story is written with style and language that is not easily approachable, which makes the story more difficult to follow. Additionally, the formatting of the text into letters seemed unnecessary, and it would be difficult to translate into publication.

Thank you for your consideration of ---- ---- Magazine as a potential market for your work.

Best of luck,

----- ----, Editor
---- ---- Magazine


Mr Nicholls,
"The Virginity Chronicles" was a good story, but we must pass. It was below the word count we wanted and we also have a plethora of work to showcase for our debut issue. Now don't take this rejection so harsh, we enjoyed your work and would like you to submit again after July 1st with a new piece. Thanks again.

---- Team


Dear M.J.,

Thank you for sending "Breath In, Breathe Out," but I decided not to use the story.

---- ------
Not --- of --


Hello M.J.!
Thank you for submitting "Breathe In, Breathe Out" to ---- Magazine.
Unfortunately, we will not be using your story at this time. While I
loved the world you developed here, for me Mimus just wasn't a
character who could hold my interest. He felt a bit flat to me, which
made it hard to care whether or not he survived the city's edict.
Best of luck placing this story elsewhere, and please feel free to submit again!
------ -------
Submissions Editor - ---- Magazine



We must apologize for the delay in hearing back from us. Thank you for sending us this story to consider. We have to pass on it, but we do wish you good luck finding a home for it.


The Editors


[This story was submitted a year earlier and had been published elsewhere almost a year earlier too].


Thank you for your submission to ----------- Magazine. Unfortunately, your submission has not been selected for publication. Please note that currently, less than 3% of submissions we receive are selected for publication, and as a result we're forced to reject many promising stories from writers with obvious talent.

For all the latest news about ----------- please visit our website ----------- is currently closed to fiction submissions but expects to reopen by the end of April. Please check our fiction: submission guidelines for updated information on our status.


----------- Editorial Staff


Dear M.J.,

Thanks for sending in your writing for our consideration. We really enjoyed reading it.

Unfortunately it is not what we are looking for at this time.

We hope you will submit again and that you continue to visit the magazine.

All the best,

----- and ------


M.J. Nicholls,

I'm sorry to say I'm turning your submission down. Thank you for submitting to ------ ------. Good luck!

---- ---------, editor


  1. Well, it was certainly a unique collection of rejections.
    Next year will be better!!

  2. Holy balls!

    You can send out rhyming rejections? It's like a whole new world has been opened to me....

    I just got a rejection that told me my story was "too typical." On the bright side, I'm sure you never get that one.:)

  3. Alex: My favourite is the bluntness of January. Sounded like the soup Nazi turned lit editor.

    Jeff: Yes, that was cool. The mag was called Daikaijuzine, which is a silly name, but nice peeps. Strangely enough, I got a rejection five minutes after posting this. Fortunately it was too dull to make the cut. Oh well. They could always try again in six months.

  4. I would have to send a rhyming response to the rhyming rejection. None of my rejections have been nearly so interesting as these. Damn.

  5. I'm sorry to say it turned out that way but hey, you're still gay at the end of the day. (This is why I stopped writing poetry).

  6. Does anyone happen to know what a plausible science fiction story is? Stanislaw Lem perhaps? How about Avatar?

  7. Hey mona.d. Yes, exactly. What I like about that rejection is they tell me laboriously how they like to offer feedback to all entrants, then just show how my story "rated". Which is hardly feedback at all. Dweebs.