Rejections suck. Failure sucks. Even rejections you didn’t know were rejections, suck. You know, that one literary magazine you submitted to three years ago, and you never heard back? Yeah. You got stood up.
Stock rejections are like your morning coffee—if you don’t have cream or the sugar. It’s satisfying enough, but there’s something missing. A little feedback, a ‘you’ll get em’ next time, kid’, or an emoticon. Something to let you know that they actually read your story or your poem and just didn’t like it.
I recently got a rejection from Hippocampus. I know! Denied by one of the greats. Sad, but not surprising. What was surprising, was the personalized rejection. They read my story—beginning to end! They liked it, but not enough. Not quite ready for publication, they said, but to keep working, because there’s something there to work at.
What!? They like me, they really like me! Forget the fact that they don’t like me enough to publish me, but I made an impression that deemed me worthy for a personalized message.
Call me masochistic, but I really enjoyed this rejection. Almost as much as I would have enjoyed a publication.