After being shortlisted early on, a story I’d written was rejected after almost 150 days of waiting. The worst part of this is how shabby the rejection was—a form rejection. A general rejection. A simple “We’re going to take a pass, this wasn’t a good fit for us. Good luck elsewhere.”
After five months, the best the editors could do was offer a form rejection. No feedback. No explanation. No personality. No warmth. It went up their cue to the top and they rejected it without so much as a personal note, compliment, or kind word.
It’s not so much that I feel that I deserved to get into the magazine, but I feel as though the editors took my time for granted. We hear a lot about how editors have to sift through dozens of pieces, make difficult decisions, and how writers simply have to be patient, but that’s not just a one-way street. Writers are patient, too. We’re patient with editors in a process that often leaves us wondering and trying our best not to query, trying not to pester, and trying not to lose hope. When we wait for months on end for a response only to get a form rejection, it really does sting.
If editors aren’t going to endeavor to be quick on the returns and demand “No simultaneous submissions,” then I think it’s prudent not to invest a piece with them. That kind of lengthy delay coupled with an exclusive demand not to shop the piece elsewhere is really inexcusable. Sorry, not sorry; I’m done with slowpoke editors who demand they get an exclusive crack at a story without offering something in the way of useful critique after a long delay and a rejection.
Again, rejections are fine. But taking months on end and demanding writers not engage in simultaneous submission is no longer acceptable. It’s just a form of capitalist exploitation of intellectual labor.