michaeljwyantjr wrote:Got a rejection today... yet another in a long string of form rejections. I know these folks don't have time to spare for lowly folks like me, but this one tripped me up and got me in a funk all damned day.
You asked for a specific style of story, I provided said story in that style (and really liked it), and you send me a fuggin' form letter!? ARGH!
It'd be really nice to get a little win, you know? Just a taste of success outside of the Wolverton class feedback I *paid* for...
*deep breath... breaking off into frenzied shouting*
FWIW, it feels--subjectively--like slush piles are growing ever larger, and form rejections are getting commensurately more common because, frankly, it's so much quicker than analysing precisely why something didn't work for you. Reading for slush is a different mindset to reading for feedback, and you're moving faster because there's hundreds more responses* to get through, and you just know when something isn't working for you even if you can't always put your finger on it.
Personally, when I'm slushing, sometimes a form is a sign that a story is more nearly there than a personal: if I can easily say "story was too distant from the protagonist's head" I'll drop that in because I know already, typing the sentence takes no extra effort--but it means the problem was obvious to me. Sometimes I can't quite put my finger on why something isn't winning me over, probably because it's a culmination of a dozen small things (too familiar in setting, in plot, in character, voice doesn't stand out enough, not clear enough motivations...), at which point I have a choice of stopping slushing, switching mindset, working it out and writing it up, or... sending a form and moving onto the next story to try and keep response times down.
And, frankly, as an author I know I'd prefer the faster responses. When I'm slushing I am there working for the magazine, not for the author (sorry), and I'm also aware that a personal rejection can't help but carry more weight than just-one-more-email-from-Critters. But my feedback is not necessarily anything special, and I don't want authors giving it more importance than it should, especially if the reason wasn't screamingly obvious.
All of which is to say: believe me, I know forms suck, especially after an unusually long wait at a market (Strange Horizons got me that way just this week). But please don't read too much into only getting forms; it could mean, counterintuitively, that in some regards you're getting closer than you realise.
*case in point: Fireside opened for five days last week. Checking the Subs Grinder
, which anecdotally captures about 10-20% of all subs made, they got at least 900 stories in those five days. WHAT.