On the angry post-rejection e-mail
I’ve never done it. Roxane Gay, editor of PANK, makes me glad I’ve resisted. Great piece that helps to put things in perspective. I’m simultaneously surprised to hear so many writers do this, and also not at all surprised. I recently strongly considered writing back to a journal, “Are you sure?” But that came more from a spirit of joking and wanting to see what, if anything, the editor would say, than from anger. Tucked within the piece is a lot of great, necessary advice for writers on how to deal with rejection. At one point, Gay cites her own rejection rate in Duotrope as being up around 78%. She makes her own point about it, but my first reaction was something like jealousy: surely mine is somewhere in the nineties. Point being, you’re succeeding as a writer if only eight out of ten submissions are rejected. As Gay notes, that’s just the nature of the game. The sooner you acclimate yourself to that, and make rejection the expected outcome of submitting, the better off you will be.
Update: Probably could have seen this coming, but the comments section under the above-referenced blog post has turned into something of a shit show, as they say. The person whose angry post-rejection e-mail to Roxane inspired the post has stepped forward in comments—though not really, as he’s writing under the name “Donny”—to reiterate his points. Which as you might guess, are pretty insipid. Read it if you like car wrecks and that sort of thing. I haven’t seen the comparison show up yet in the comments section, but the whole thing reminds me of this authorial flip-out, which I pontificated on here.