So, it’s me!! Well partly me and partly the chaps!! This post is a bit tongue in cheek, but it was sparked by a serious issue so, bear with!
As our regulars will know we have said on quite a number of occasions that we love sending out letters of acceptance. Without them there wouldn’t be a site after all. If we didn’t receive these brilliant, thought provoking, amusing, moving, serious short stories then we’d be sitting at home knitting. Well, I wouldn’t because I can’t knit, but I have it on good authority that Hugh can turn a heel with the best the WI has to offer, and nobody can do a raglan sleeve to compare with our Afro Welshman.
But we do and we’re not; instead we spend hours and hours reading and publishing the submissions. We read em, debate em, often read em again as a result of the debate and then eventually we reach a consensus and it has to be a majority – no room for unilateral decisions round here. Then we send out the notifications. Sometimes it’s easy, ‘Yes please’ is easy. Sometimes we feel inclined to explain our rejection letters because we see that the author has something going on and we hope that in the future we’ll have something from them that we will be able to accept, or we simply want to encourage writers to keep going.
It is never a frivolous decision. Right from the start we agreed that we would not compromise, this has led to some hairy moments – we still have in the drafts folder the post that was prepared (happily some years ago now) which says we are sorry but we don’t have enough story submissions to continue – we clung on with our finger tips and the site is healthier at the moment than ever.
This might be a good moment to mention a little point. You may wonder why we do it, you may have seen adverts on the site and you may think that we are doing it for financial reward. We are not. The adverts are put there by WordPress. We could have a site without them but to put it bluntly we can’t afford it. We do pay for the site, we need the extra storage that the fee buys us. We cover this out of our own pockets. There, that’s out of the way.
So, why this post – well, recently we had an author who reacted very badly to a rejection. He or she! (I really need to get my head around the non binary pronouns) told us that our selection process is muddled and unclear and ‘they’ gave us the impression that they didn’t think we were a serious fiction site. Well, quite frankly we were upset. We have always tried to publish an eclectic mix of work. We hope that by doing this we can give our readers at least a couple of stories each week that will suit their tastes, hopefully some people like all of the mix – you know that old thing about pleasing all the people, all the time!!
We have a submissions guidelines page which gives an idea of what we are looking for and we are not looking for beige. Women’s Weekly, Reader’s Digest etc etc can have those and the readers know where to look for such stuff. Anyway, we thought that a fun way to demonstrate this would be to write some of the rejection letters that we would like to send. None of these are aimed at any particular submission or author but they are a mish mash of the things we mutter in the dark reaches of the night when the whisky has its way and the truth will out.
You guys who write must have had some rejection letters! At least a couple surely, so we would love it if you would share some of yours with us. Some of the ones that stood out in one way or another.
Anyway – This is what we would have said:
We were wondering if your story would be more suited showcased through the medium of dance?
Can you dance??
Cause you sure as fuck can’t write.
With the greatest respect
We read your story with interest and before we make a decision we were wondering if you were on some sort of medication that we should be aware of.
And do you know where we all live??
We are still considering this.
We found your story to be a tad over written with some excessive description.
In one paragraph you described the description of what you were describing.
We are very sorry to pass on this but we would suggest that you contact the Guinness Book Of Records due to the number of adverbs.
We have never seen so many words ending in ly. There were actually more than your word count.
We would suggest that you check out that they are actual words.
‘He wasly deadly dead.’
‘They intercoursly had intercourse’
Sorry but at this time we will need to pass.
We read with interest that you were trying to embrace your feminine side and we respect that.
But we have a lady editor and as well as her, we have asked every woman that we know if they have ever used the phrases:
‘My fluffy acceptance.’
‘His pointed pride’
‘Their union of want.’
‘They were premature giving their wedding juice to each other’
We are sorry to say that no woman we know has ever used these phrases.
We also believe that no woman on this planet or any other would use these phrases.
Unfortunately we need to say no.
All at Literally Stories.
You made Diane very angry.
You should have known better than writing some Historical Fiction as a corpse wearing panties.
She is in the cupboard with her dolls.
We are not worried as they are her Voodoo Dolls, she’ll come out when she’s ready.
Oh and thanks for the photo.
Looking forward to your next submission if there is one.
All at Literally Stories.
Why don’t you just fuck off!!
All at Literally Stories
After reading your story, Nik has run away.
He is now 36 miles from where he started.
We are trying to coax him back with some seaweed and a new rugby shirt.
Needless to say, this is a NO.
All at Literally Stories.
You have been a wee bit presumptuous.
We don’t want to publish and we would rather that you didn’t send us anymore of your work.
We are also not inviting you to the Staff Christmas Party and I don’t see what I am having for my dinner has anything to do with you.
All at Literally Stories.
PS – There is no point offering to write the invites for you and my sister’s wedding for two reasons – Firstly, she is already married and secondly – Your writing is awful.
I think you misunderstood the point of the site. We wanted a piece that we could read. Something where the words were put together in some sort of order. It was lovely of you to share your extensive and extremely purple vocabulary with us. If someday you manage to organise it into a story please – well actually no – don’t bother us with it – I don’t think we will have recovered enough.
This is a no I’m afraid.
Lots of love and hugs
We are really sorry that you couldn’t understand our submission guidelines. When we said we would like you to send us a document that we could open, with no fancy typesetting and no odd layout, that was sort of what we meant. Your submission was a work of art, maybe your local art gallery can find a place for it – we can’t
13,000 is not slightly outside our word count guide of 500 to 3,000 and trying to sneak it in by not mentioning the real length on the submission letter didn’t work because the download filled my thumb drive. I note that you said that you could shorten it if we thought it was suitable. Please don’t bother.
You have got to be kidding – it’s a joke isn’t it.
Go away and don’t do that again.
Congratulations, seven spelling errors, two tense arguments and a change to the name of the main character in the first fourteen word sentence is a record. May we suggest a teeny proof read before you make any further submissions.
Oh yes, and see this ‘,’ it’s not a funny little face it two apostrophes and a comma – they are free to use everywhere!
In spite of our awe at your ineptitude we are going to pass this time.
Thank you for sending us your work and the very in depth bio. My word you do have an extensive back catalogue, and so many published works – impressed.
We did wonder, when you submitted to all of those other publications did you bother to adhere to their submission guidelines, or did you just fling it in their direction as you seem to have done with us. We do know that including all that information is a bind when all you want to do is write but – please – give it a go next time – make us smile.
Thanks – your story is under consideration.
Hugs and Stuff
All in fun folks and please share some of yours with us, you’ll feel better – trust me