September 7, 2015 by Nathaniel Tower
This morning I woke up to this little note in my Bartleby Snopes inbox:
The offense that warranted such a response? Well, we rejected his story, of course.
A little background: this was the 13th time this writer had submitted a story to Bartleby Snopes. His deep submission history with us goes all the way back to 2011.
This obnoxious email leaves me with many questions, including:
- Does he really think that such a response would help his writing career in any way?
- If he thinks we publish shit, why does he keep submitting to us?
A couple months ago, I wrote a guest post for the Submittable blog discussing these pointless profane attacks from writers. Let me say it again: there is nothing to be gained by such a response. The writer has everything to lose.
I would never reveal this writer’s name publicly. But imagine if I did. What if I told all of the editors I know about him? Do you think any of them would be likely to accept his work? I highly doubt it. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to work with a writer with such a horrible attitude.
I can guarantee this: Bartleby Snopes will never even read another submission from this individual. We would never want to work with this individual, and not just because it’s pretty obvious that his writing doesn’t meet our tastes.
Let’s consider this: the writer had been rejected 12 times prior to this. Why would you keep submitting to the same venue after 12 rejections, none of which were met with any strong encouragement? Nothing suggested he was close to “cracking” us.
Back to the response. This writer submitted almost exclusively to our “no feedback” category, so it’s not like anything we said in our rejection was provocation for such a tirade. Here’s our rejection:
Thank you for submitting [Title Removed] to Bartleby Snopes. We appreciate the chance to read your work. Unfortunately, this piece is not for us.
Good luck with this one elsewhere. Feel free to try us again in the future with something new, but please wait at least one month before submitting again.
That’s the same rejection he’d received a dozen times before. It’s the same thing we send to everyone who submits to the “no feedback” category. (Well, in some rare cases, we remove the “try us again” note, but that’s typically reserved for offensives submissions.)
Oh, and it might be worth mentioning that this writer bribed us in his cover letter. He told us he would donate to the magazine if we accepted his work. So not only is he submitting to a magazine that publishes what he considers shit, but he’s also willing to buy his way into it. Why would you pay money to be alongside shit?
There are many lessons for writers to learn here. The most obvious ones are:
- Don’t be an asshole
- Take rejection with grace (or at least with a grain of salt)
- Don’t submit your work to venues you don’t like
- Don’t try to bribe a venue to accept your work
- Know when your writing isn’t a good fit for a particular venue
The list probably goes on, but I think any writer who can live by those 5 rules will have at least a slight advantage in this fickle world of publishing.