The Not-So-Bitter Sting

It’s funny, the last couple of weeks I’ve been more lax about checking the email address I use for submissions. I wasn’t expecting to hear back from Strange Horizons until sometime next month. Even still, I was checking it daily-ish, just in case, but every now and then I’d forget to look.

I must have checked it on Friday, but I didn’t look yesterday. Today, I logged in to find a reply from the editors.

I won’t keep you in suspense: they passed on “Kate.”

However, I was figuring on getting a form response – basically a variation on “Thanks, but it’s not right for us at this time,” since they’re probably pretty swamped with submissions. It’s not insulting to get one of those; there’s nothing to really read into it. Editors just plain don’t have the time to respond to every single thing they read – otherwise, nothing would ever get published. And, y’know, that’s bad.

BUT! The awesome part of this (yes, the awesome part of being rejected) is, the editor who responded took the time to say some really nice things about the story itself, and offered suggestions for improvement – where the story bogged down for her, a note on the ending. And in addition, she offered some awesome compliments on my writing, so I definitely don’t feel like it’s such a big ball of suck anymore.

So, “Kate” will have to go back into my to-be-worked on pile for now, because I really do agree with her comments. I’m not sure whether or not I’ll resubmit it to them when it’s done, at least not for a while. I’m very timid about the etiquette that goes along with follow-up submissions – she didn’t say “Take a look at these things and then resend it when they’re fixed,” so I’d feel kind of presumptuous, when it’s revised, to resubmit. Because, as she also said, ghost stories are really tough sells. They see a lot of them.

Anyway, yeah. Reworking, revisiting, and actually pretty okay with the rejection. And feeling some warm, fuzzy and huge respect towards the editors of Strange Horizons for such a gracious reply.

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6 Responses to The Not-So-Bitter Sting

  1. This kind of letter restores my faith in humanity!

  2. Lori says:

    That is super news, and absolutely worth being excited about! And this editor obviously knows her stuff–you are awesome.

  3. Itanya Blade says:


    Feedback is nifty

  4. Hillary says:

    Unlike most rejections, you should be plussed by this. Also, this is why you need to listen to me more.

  5. falconesse says:

    If there’s such a thing as a positive rejection, this was one. I responded and let her know her reply had actually made me smile.

    And it’s not that I don’t listen to you; it’s just one of those stories that feels more flawed to me than I guess it really is.

  6. Von says:

    I think it’s cool she gave you positive feedback and advice. And at least you have the courage to write.

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