Thank you for your submission to Penumbra eMag. Although your story made it to the final round of evaluation, ultimately I'm afraid we're going to have to reject it. I did, however, enjoy your work and would love to see more of your stories at Penumbra in the future.
This is a very nice and very friendly rejection letter. I have received worse and with an editor who goes into some explanation, Penumbra is still on my list. This sounds like a magazine I would like to continue to work with.
But to the beginning writers who read my blog (and even some old timers), I didn't die when I got it. Night Mares has been printed before so I'll just send it to the next market on my list.
So what does a rejection letter mean?
- It means the story could not be up to industry standards. Self-editing can be tough. This is why I am part of a writers group that helps edit each others work and is mature enough to edit for grammar and mistakes in logic and continuity and not make value judgments on the story. If the story I had sent Penumbra was not a reprint, I would send it to the group (even if it was a second time). Revision is hard work, many times harder than writing the original piece. Some of my stories have matured like fine wine for years because I still don't think they are yet ready to be sent out.
- If the story is up to standards, then all it means is that the editor did not think the story a fit for the final work. This is most likely the reason why Night Mares was rejected. When grouped with the theme of the magazine and balanced with the other stories, something just didn't feel right. Most often this is subjective, but the Divine Right of Editors even outweighs the Divine Right of Kings.
So I will send my baby out again and I will not:
- feel bad,
- write a nasty letter to the editor for rejecting my story, or
- give up on what I know is a beautiful story and throw it away.
But you know what's really tragic? I have friends and acquaintences who are so talented at writing that they make my best look like the inane ramblings of a backwoods illiterate, but they never get published because they're scared to death of that note I received.
A rejection letter is not the end of the world, but it is evidence that I tried.
Now, on to the next market!