Monday, October 25, 2010

That was weird

I just got what appears to be a personal rejection from Sheila Williams, the editor of Asimov's Science Fiction, calling my last submission "well done," though "not right," and expressing eager anticipation for my next submission.

Uh... that was the second worst story I have ever written.

Quick, you guys! Did Asimov's change their form rejection to be incredibly positive? Or do I have no idea what I am doing?



  1. It's still a form rejection, but there's clearly a gradation of response. Since Asimov's went to the e-submission system, one of my rejections has been "nicely done," two have been "well done", and three have been "very well done". The latest one was "thoughtful and well done". Four have said "not quite right for [me/Asimov's]" and one said "didn't quite work for me". The oldest response is from May 29th of this year and the newest was from Sept. 19th. Make of that what you will.

    All of those are much nicer than I was getting when I was sending paper submissions, but I think there might have just been some change in templates when it went to e-submissions.

  2. As a P.S., Asimov's used to have this really annoying bottom-of-the-heap rejection where they sent you a rejection with no invitation to submit again, plus a copy of the guidelines, as if to say, "You idiot, can't you see right here in the guidelines where we asked for 'good' and 'well-written' stories?"

    It's like, your story was so bad that they had to take the extra effort to stuff in more paper in there just to demonstrate to you that they wanted to go the extra mile to make sure you'd never send them anything that bad again.

    Man...I got so many of those. I wonder if there's an equivalent to that in the new system?


    Haha. No, I suspected as much. In the same hilarious vein of great form rejections, check this out:

  4. He shut down your sadness with statistics. That's cold!

  5. I guess I should compose my death-haiku.

  6. I mean...your rejection is still's just part of a graded set of forms. Just like a "didn't work for me" is much better than a "didn't grab me" at F&SF. Or like how a yellow form was better than a blue form at Realms of Fantasy.

  7. It's a little late for that, Rahul. The short blade has been readied; my second stands ready to behead me before the pain eats too deep in my gut.

    In fact, I'd be dead already if I wasn't obsessively re-writing this haiku. I mean, how will it be received by the Gods? Will they hand me a a blue form at the Gates of Heaven?

    You know I be playin'; I'm glad to know I'm a slight cut above. Although, I can never decide which kind of rejection I ultimately prefer: the gentle but formulaic rebuff (Asimov's, F&SF); the cold statistical form letter (Clarkesworld, Fantasy); or the "Thank you; no" that IGMS delivers.

    Strangely, I think I like the last one. "No time to cry," as it were; it keeps me moving, and I actually laugh out loud every time I read it, which is another pro.