Friday, May 22, 2009

The Bob Seger Rejection

So I have an essay called "The Bob Seger Receonciliation." It is, essentially, a short piece about three seperate bonding occurances involving Bob Seger music that forced me to reconsider being so smug about the man.

Anyway, it was one of the last pieces I wrote for my graduate collection during my MFA, and my mentor (who is very open and cool as a teacher but tends to be more traditional) really liked it, so I felt it "legitimate" enough to send out into the world of literary magazines.

In February I attended AWP, a very large writer's conference where most of the literary magazines have a table. As a writer, I find the process of walking up and down the aisles and phyically seeing the collection of publications and the people who run on work on the publicaton quite helpful. Because the "unsolicited submission" pile at most of these places is vast, much of the processes is, admittedly, a numbers game. However, I think there is something to the repeated advice that you take a look at old editions and try to place your work accordingly.

Being extroverted also helps. I have a bachelor's degree in theater. Amoung theater people, I am the wallflower. Around other writer's however, I can easily slip into loud-mouth rock star if I am not careful. But, having a knack for amusing small talk and the confidence in knowing what I want to do can give the slightest of edges.

Anyway, by the end of the conference I'd compiled a nice little list of publications and names and went home ready to match them up with the dozen or so submission-worthy essays.

Which lead me to send out a total of about twenty submissions, including "The Bob Seger Reconciliation" to a very cool, impressive reputable journal. That was in February. The lit mags are notoriously slow because of high submission rate combined with notoriously over-worked and under-paid staffs. In the past week, the rejections have started trickling in. Of course most were the sub-human two-by-three inch cheap-ass "no thanks" things that infuriate me (see end of 2/24 post...)

What I've been more pleased with, generally speaking, are the email exhanged. The editors seem to be more inclined to jot a note or two that acknowledge you are being responded to by a person and not just an elimination machine. Take the following:

Thanks for sending this for our consideration. We’ve read it with interest and have had more conversation about Bob Seger than any of us thought we ever would. In the end, this piece isn’t right for us. I’ll say, if you’d like to try us again, we’d be interested to read more of your work, though I think, compared to this piece, we’d be interested in longer work, if possible.

Isn't that nice? Makes me like this publication more and want to work towards pleasing them. Not in an obsessive, stalkery kind of way, but in a way that fuels the writing.

Just wanted to share...

1 comment:

  1. It is most cool when there is some human element to it, even if the news is bad. It gives you some fuel towards what might get a better response next time.