How to Bake a Rejection Pie–A Poem in Honor of Short Story Rejections

In honor of losing yet another short story contest, I declare it time to write poetry. Found poetry, that is, since the following lines are excerpts from the hundreds of rejections I’ve received for my short story manuscripts. I think they make a rather sweet pie of rejection.

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Thank you for your submission.

We have carefully considered your submission.

We wish we could respond more personally to your submission.

We read your submission respectfully and with care.

Please know we read and appreciate every submission
and it pains us
a little
to be resorting to such a standard reply,
but submissions
keep coming in
and the hours keep
slipping away and
what is one to do.

We respectfully ask that you wait at least one month before submitting more work for our consideration.

We get a lot of submissions and can only use a fraction of them,
so please understand that this No most likely means
“Not Quite the Right Fit,” not “No Good.”

Because we read so many stories,
it is not possible for us to give specific feedback,
but, if you’re a relative beginner,
you may find something of interest here: Editors’ Input.

We receive many
compelling, (sic)
stories, but can only take a very limited number due to constraints of space and style.

We were literally shocked at the quality of so many of the entries.

Even quality work often has to be declined.

We appreciate your willingness to entrust us with your writing.

Our editorial staff and needs change for each issue,
so I hope you will consider submitting your work to us in the future.

However, we particularly enjoyed “Retrograde” and hope
you will keep us in mind for future submissions.

One of our editors would like to leave you some personalized comments,
so look for an email regarding “Retrograde” soon.

There was much to be liked in this story, and it got some good comments from our readers.
But alas, it still just didn’t seem to work for us.
I’d be happy to see you submit something the next reading period, which is now open.
Best of luck finding a home for this story.

Unfortunately this particular piece was not a right fit for The St. Petersburg Review,
but we were very impressed by your writing.
We hope that you will feel encouraged by this short note and send us something else.

Iron Horse Review: About your manuscript (“By the Water”), our editors said: Okay, this story is very, very good. The father is rendered in great detail and is consistent, and the three boys are all clearly distinguishable from one another. The story, moving. At the end, though, the conflict with Jeremiah seems unresolved, and that conflict seems to be the most important, next to the protagonist’s own internal conflict. So we were just a little dissatisfied by the ending. But boy, that swimming pool scene is really nice.

The New Yorker: We really enjoyed this story of a father and his three sons; it was very tender and at times even humorous.

The Missouri Review: Lyn, Thank you for sending us your work titled “By the Water” for publishing consideration. Though this piece will not work for us, we encourage you to keep sending your work, as your talented writing style is one we look to promote through our publications. Your eye for detail and subtle humor are apparent throughout this piece, we congratulate you for excellent technique and hope to review your work in the future.
Sincerely, The Editors

We wish you success in placing your work elsewhere.

Never mind what we say. Keep writing!