Fortune vomits on my eiderdown once more, as Edmund Blackadder once observed: today I got a rejection from a magazine I’d sent a story to, along with the story in my self-addressed envelopes. I hate the sight of these envelopes coming through the post: at least when you email something and don’t get a reply you can imagine they’re still thinking about your story and that a committee somewhere is passing it round and discussing its merits. There was a rejection slip in with the story, and someone had scribbled a note on it. ‘Oh,’ I thought, ‘maybe they want to say how much they regret not being able to publish my story and wish me luck for the future.’ Not a bit of it. It was a rather rude and patronising note advising me to do some research before I send stories out, to attach a covering letter and to use the name of the editor.
Now, I can only assume that the covering letter got detached from the story before this person read it; because I always attach a covering letter when I post stuff out; plus if the name of the editor was out there, why wouldn’t I use it? I do all the research I am able to do; looking at listings and seeing what the requirements of the magazine are. But – and here’s the rub – I can’t afford to subscribe to all the magazines I might want to submit to, so what am I supposed to do?
I thought the tone of the writer was rather rude and patronising and I’m tempted to reply with a little note of my own, thus:
Dear Person from ____ Magazine
I would advise you to reflect a little before you send out rejection slips. Are you sure there wasn’t a covering letter? These things can so easily get detached. And before you criticise a writer for not studying your magazine, please reflect that magazines cost money and most struggling writers can’t afford subscriptions.
I would address this note to you personally but I don’t know your name.
Sarada Gray (age 57 3/4)
Off now to clear up fortune’s vomit.
PS It occurs to me that I actually AM 57 3/4!