Giving Thanks – My First Rejection Letter
On Thanksgiving morning, I was greeted by my very first rejection letter. Kartika Review, which “publishes literary fiction, poetry, and essays that endeavor to expand and enhance the mainstream perception of Asian American creative writing”, turned down one of my short stories. Though I was semi-bummed, I wasn’t surprised. This is just the first of hundreds and I’ll post them all here, so you know you’re not alone!
In fact, most writers understand that receiving rejection is part of the job, but survive with perseverance and humor. For example, some writers choose to literally wallpaper their bathrooms with their rejection letters. Others have their rejection letters printed on toilet paper to wipe their you know whats on them!
Here it is, my very first rejection letter:
Thank you so much for your submission to Kartika Review. We are a fledgling literary magazine and appreciate that you have given us the opportunity to read your work.
We regret, however, that your piece is not right for our current needs. Please forgive me for not providing comments or suggestions–I would like to offer a few personal words but I don’t think a sentence or two would really help ease the blow of a rejection.
Know however that I am impressed with your writing in this particular piece. I hope you will feel encouraged by this short note and send us something else. This is NOT our customary rejection letter.
Please keep moving forward with your writing and thank you for your support of Kartika Review.
I would also add that this rejection letter was much less depressing than Doug Rice’s recent critique of my Orange County suburb short story, which he told me was “seriously flawed” and required a narrative design overhaul. He recommended that I rewrite all the dialogue and refocus the story because he thinks the “real story” is somewhere else. He might have also dropped the words “cliche,” “simple” and added that the language was “too literal.”
As you can imagine, after Rice’s critique, the Kartika rejection letter was actually more like a friendly hug. Thanks, Kartika.