Positive Rejections


I’ve mentioned in the past about how my renewed enthusiasm about writing and blogging has been partly fueled by the encouraging rejections I began receiving in the past year or so. I didn’t elaborate at the time because the point of that post was outlining some goals for 2013.

Now that I recently got word that my first published story will be coming out in April, I feel that those positive rejections were telling, so I thought I would share some of them to better illustrate what I was talking about. Writing involves more than its fair share of failure as rejections far outweigh acceptances. Literary magazines are overwhelmed with submissions and need to rely on form letters to handle the traffic, so whenever editors take the time to write something personal, it can be exceptionally encouraging.

Since these were intended as personal correspondence, I’ll leave out identifying info.

Thank you for sending your story to __________________.We have completed the selections for the fall issue and your story was not recommended for publication.

This story was under consideration until the last day of deliberations. We would like to see more of your work in the future.

Thank you so much for taking the time to submit The Vacation Fight to ___________. As much as we appreciate and enjoy your work, this particular submission is not right for us at this time. Having said that, we really, really enjoyed your work—it sparked a heated debate in our editorial meeting—and we would really appreciate it if you would submit to us again in the future. 

Again, thank you for considering _______________ as a home for your work. We hope to see your name again soon!

The _____________ Staff


I won’t beat around the bush in saying that “Drunk Monkeys” doesn’t fit the direction that we are taking the next issue in. 

However, this is a wonderful story, it is clean, crisp and well constructed. Forgive me if I sound like I am selling a bottle of cab. (perhaps the story made me a bit thirsty). Devon and Lenny are both utterly believable. I spent some time on the outskirts of the art world, and from my brief time there-you nailed it. I love the closing paragraph, it wraps the story beautifully.

It should go with out saying that our inability to use this piece at the moment is no reflection on the quality of your writing, or of my opinion on it. I am confident the “Drunk Monkeys” will find a home easily. I hope that you consider submitting again in the future and thank you for sharing you work with us.


Receiving this type of feedback has been wonderfully encouraging after receiving so many form rejections. I post these partly out of shameless self-promotion but partly as a way to provide encouragement to other writers. I have no idea how many standard rejections I’ve received, but I can attest to the fact that persistence has paid off. Don’t let the rejections get you down. Just keep forging ahead!


  • Congratulations on landing your first publication. These rejections are rather informative, but I’ve always taken issue with the phrase, “not right for us at this time.” I mean, if that’s the case, can’t they just hang onto it until it is right for them?

  • Thanks Valerie.

    I feel your pain, but I would assume it’s difficult for a magazine to know when a piece could be right for them. They may not know the tone of an issue until they get submissions for it. I agree it would be nice for them to hold on to something if they knew it would be for their next issue, but I’d rather have my work back to submit elsewhere than have someone holding on to it indefinitely.

    Good luck placing your work.

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