A rare “friends only” post to vent about the Borderlands 6 rejection I got. Normally I consider myself fairly thick-skinned when it comes to rejections, but this one really provoked me.
This one was so bad I would have rather have gotten a form. It’s not the rejection which raises my hackles, but the tone of it. Would it have killed them to take a page from GVG/JJA’s book and make their rejections a little less snarky?
The editors admonished me for not reading their guidelines (which I had), not reading the previous Borderlands anthos (which, granted, I hadn’t), and wasting their time (glah?). The last bit really irked me. They said that by sending them something so utterly unsuitable, that it was a waste of their time.
I’ve always believed that a writer shouldn’t do the editor’s job for them and self-reject. Hell, I often find it baffling what a market buys of mine and what they reject, so if I have something within what I see as the realm of their guidelines, I send it in. I figure it’s the editor’s job to pick the stories they want from the slush, and mine to write the best I can. Over time I’ve gotten a better feel for what some markets are looking for by what they’ve responded well to and what they’ve bought (as well as, yes, by reading what they’ve published), and I’ve noticed that often the guidelines and the editor’s tastes seem to be at odds.
Now, okay, I didn’t read the previous Borderlands anthos. While I do read ravenously, I haven’t managed to read every single publication I’ve submitted to. I mean, I haven’t even read every publication I’ve sold to. I did read the guidelines, as I read all the guidelines to markets I submit to. They said “we are not looking for any of the traditional bug-bears and boogeymen. No ghosts or vampires need apply. No zombies, no werewolves, no mummies, succubi, or Hitchcockian spouses with plans to do in their mates.” I didn’t send them that. I sent what I consider “dark fantasy.”
Chalk it up as a learning experience, I guess. They don’t want anything that resembles traditional fantasy. Check. And I’ve heard from the RM that they don’t want science fiction either. Check.
But it ticked me off.