"Seven bums and fourteen legs,
a brazen ecstasy which begs
the question some of us are asking -
is Peter Goulding multi-tasking?"

Martin Parker, Editor, Lighten Up Online

Friday, March 25, 2011

An enchanted response to a disenchanted comment

A week or so I posted a rejection I had from Enchanted Conversation
Basically, I admitted I was less than enchanted by the terseness of the rejection mail. The editor Kate has replied in the comments but in case people can't be bothered to scroll back, here it is:-

So sorry you felt slighted by the reply you received and put off by our guidelines. I'm glad other publications have guidelines you like and wish you the best.
At EC, writers get paid, and pretty well. Editors do the work for free. As a result, we have guidelines that try to let people know ahead of time what will and will not work. We deal with many hundreds of submissions a year and many are not at all right for the publication.
Finally, as a writer and editor working for many, many years, I have been shut down pretty briskly by other editors in a variety of fields. I think straightforward is best.

Basically, I can't argue with most of that. I still maintain the submission guidelines are surreal even compared to other paying magazines. The last five words, however, I don't agree with. Consider this rejection:

Dear Peter
Thanks for your interest in the abridged. Unfortunately we couldn't use your submissions in this instance. This isn't a reflection on the quality of your work, rather that we have so many submissions and so little space. Feel free to submit to future issues of course.
best wishes
Editor, Abridged

and now this

Dear Peter:
Thank you for submitting, but we will not be using your work for this edition.
Enchanted Conversation

Now, I may not be an expert on poetry but I am an expert on getting rejected. I am well aware that both mails are telling me - your work wasn't good enough. Both I am sure are copy and paste jobs and I have no problem with that. However, I am now well-disposed to submitting to Abridged again but probably won't bother with EC, even though they pay. Why is this?
But I wish the publication well and am glad that EC has so many subscribers who love their guidelines.


  1. I like the magazine, but have to agree, rejections are a cut and paste job, and the energy put into responding to your blogpost could have been put into, adding "wishes" to that "best"

  2. I'm not an expert in this field, or any field for that matter, but unfortunately I've had to do rejections for The Poetry Bus Magazine and it is not easy, I really hate it, and don't know if I'l ever get used to it. But seeing as the mag is in the fortunate position where people are kind enough to take the trouble to show me their work I feel the least I can do is make the reply as personal and pain free as a rejection can be. Should I get to the stage where I have to do rejections by the thousands I'd like to think that the inevitable cut and paste job would still try to soften the blow, not add to it.

  3. To be fair to EC they do warn in their list of guidelines, strange choice but it is their party.
    And the worst responses of all are,6 months, one year, two years later, or not at all.