Form vs Personal Rejection

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michaeljwyantjr
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Form vs Personal Rejection

Postby michaeljwyantjr » Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:39 pm

Hey folks... my newb might be showing, but I realized today that I'm not entirely sure what constitutes a switch from Form Rejection to Personal Rejection.

Most form rejections are pretty obvious: "Thank you for submitting, but we've decided not to publish your story at this time. Good luck on future submissions."

But then there are some others that I've always considered a form rejection that might not be. Here's an example:
"Dear Michael,

Thank you for giving me a chance to read "STORY NAME." Unfortunately, this story didn't win me over and I'm going to pass on it. I wish you best of luck finding the right market for it and hope that you'll keep us in mind in the future.

Best regards,
EDITOR NAME"

I'm pretty sure that's just a polite form letter, but my wife thought I might be crazy.

So... from those more learned in the arts of publishing success and rejection... at what point is a rejection letter considered "Personal"?

Thanks,
Mike
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RSchibler
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Re: Form vs Personal Rejection

Postby RSchibler » Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:46 pm

That second one sounds like a higher tier form rejection to me. There's a rejection wiki if you google it- most of the form responses were on there. On the two personals I've gotten, it was obvious it was a personal rejection. In the first, because the editor explicitly stated so and in the second because there was detailed feedback regarding the story. I think there are usually two standard form rejects (Thank you but no thank you, thank you but please try us again) and then the personal rejection.
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disgruntledpeony
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Re: Form vs Personal Rejection

Postby disgruntledpeony » Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:48 pm

Yep, that's a polite form. I've gotten the same one, myself. A personal rejection usually involves the editor mentioning your story in some way (for example, saying that they liked the story but the characters seemed a little flat, explaining that the word count was too high for what they're accepting right now, or some such). Essentially, if the rejection mentions your story specifically in some manner, it's a personal rejection.
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Re: Form vs Personal Rejection

Postby michaeljwyantjr » Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:58 pm

Awesome. Thanks for the help and clarification!
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Re: Form vs Personal Rejection

Postby RuiMiguelCid » Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:40 am

Hello there,


That's the higher tier form rejection for that particular magazine. I never got past that level of rejection. More information on the rejection templates used by that magazine can be found here: http://www.ccfinlay.com/blog/nectar-for ... ncers.html

I think that information still remains relevant today.

PS - As writers we do tend to spend a lot of time on rejectomancy lol That isn't good.
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Re: Form vs Personal Rejection

Postby michaeljwyantjr » Mon Oct 23, 2017 5:43 am

Speaking of rejectomancy...

The Rejection Wiki

wotf017
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Ishmael
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Re: Form vs Personal Rejection

Postby Ishmael » Mon Oct 23, 2017 7:13 am

My rule of thumb is that in order to count as personal, a rejection has to refer to your story.

Analog, for example, has a realtively rare 'send more' form rejection which is an honour in itself. As I recall it makes a reference to liking your style of writing, but says nothing about the story itself.

If you check with The Grinder, you'll find some publishers send out almost nothing but personals and some almost nothing but forms. (It's really annoying to get a form from one of the former; it's quite satisfying to get a personal from the latter.)

However, unless the respondent refers to your story, you've no evidence they even read to the end.

Do bear in mind that statistics on % personals are compiled by recipients and may therefore be subjectively inflated. It's hard to mistake a genuine personal for a form (though some forms are indeed very polite while others are very brusque) but it's easy enough to mistake a polite form for a personal.

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Re: Form vs Personal Rejection

Postby morganb » Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:38 am

I usually count it as a personal rejection if the sender mentions something they either really liked about my story and/or offered some specific reason for why they didn't accept it. For example, I recently got this one, which I consider a personal rejection:

Dear Morgan,

Thank you for your patience as I took some time to consider your story. While the concept and structure of the story were great, unfortunately, "Title of Story" isn't quite what we're looking for at the moment, I'm afraid. Best of luck placing it elsewhere, and thanks again for trying us.


And this one...

Dear Morgan,

Thank you for submitting "Title of Story" to [Magazine]. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite meet our needs.

It's a solid premise (as a kid I used to scare the crap out of myself staying up late and watching the alien abduction reenactments on Unsolved Mysteries), but the story is missing a vital component. There needs to be a sense of something at stake in order for your readers to really latch onto the dread you want to evoke. As it stands, the worst outcome the protagonist imagines is...

Thanks for submitting, and best wishes for you and your work.


Hope those examples help!


~Morgan
"If you can do it for joy, you can do it forever."
- Stephen King

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Re: Form vs Personal Rejection

Postby michaeljwyantjr » Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:53 am

morganb wrote:Hope those examples help!

~Morgan


They definitely do! Thanks!
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Re: Form vs Personal Rejection

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Thu Nov 09, 2017 12:24 pm

Wet blanket note... Mike Resnick likes to point out, "The operative word in 'personal rejection' is 'rejection'."

Optimistic note... Mike also points out that tells you not very much, and keep trying. I think he said one story took 17 years to sell.

But it sold!
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Re: Form vs Personal Rejection

Postby disgruntledpeony » Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:18 pm

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:Wet blanket note... Mike Resnick likes to point out, "The operative word in 'personal rejection' is 'rejection'."


Oh, absolutely.

On the one hand, personal rejections can give an author hope because it means they're closer to an acceptance than they might have gotten with a basic rejection. On the other hand, the advice is not, in fact, always as helpful as one might wish. I have one story that I've gotten at least four personal rejections on, but each editor's reasons for refusing the story are different. It's... confusing, so I've decided to just keep submitting it places until it either finds a home or I run out of places to send it.
If a person offend you, and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures; simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick. ~ Mark Twain
2015, Q4: R
2016: SF, n/a, SHM, SHM
2017: SHM, n/a, F, R

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Re: Form vs Personal Rejection

Postby amoskalik » Fri Nov 10, 2017 6:48 am

disgruntledpeony wrote:
Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:Wet blanket note... Mike Resnick likes to point out, "The operative word in 'personal rejection' is 'rejection'."


Oh, absolutely.

On the one hand, personal rejections can give an author hope because it means they're closer to an acceptance than they might have gotten with a basic rejection. On the other hand, the advice is not, in fact, always as helpful as one might wish. I have one story that I've gotten at least four personal rejections on, but each editor's reasons for refusing the story are different. It's... confusing, so I've decided to just keep submitting it places until it either finds a home or I run out of places to send it.


I've yet to find personal rejection comments useful. By the time I start submitting a story I've moved on creatively so even if I got a truly insightful comment that would help me make a piece much better, I wouldn't act on it because I feel my time is better spent working on my latest story. But that's just me.
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Re: Form vs Personal Rejection

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Fri Nov 10, 2017 7:02 am

amoskalik wrote:I've yet to find personal rejection comments useful. By the time I start submitting a story I've moved on creatively so even if I got a truly insightful comment that would help me make a piece much better, I wouldn't act on it because I feel my time is better spent working on my latest story. But that's just me.


And me. Nine-and-sixty ways...
http://Shoemaker.Space
Other worlds from award-winning author Martin L. Shoemaker

WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!
SUBMIT! SUBMIT! SUBMIT! SUBMIT! SUBMIT!
REPEAT! REPEAT! REPEAT! REPEAT! REPEAT!
Patience. Patience. Patience. Patience. Patience.
NNiNN


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