For me, the best thing I can get from an editor is a letter saying he or she wants to buy my story. Second to that is a personal rejection, wherein the editor offers me a few words of constructive criticism about why he or she didn’t buy my story. I’ve always valued the personal rejection because it’s a tidbit of feedback in a business that offers so little.
A writing colleague, whose published numerous stories, shared with me a “personal” rejection from the editors at Ray Gun Revival. I put the quotes around the word personal, because the rejection was down-right mean—it didn’t just attempt to provide feedback, it seemed like a shot to the gut intended to hurt (feedback that includes words like “horrible” and “not worthwhile” is generally not constructive). While my colleague may have agreed with some of the criticism of the story expressed in the letter, I found the delivery unprofessional, to say the least. I’m not sure what the editors were hoping to achieve, but I know my colleague will never submit anything to them again and neither will I—not that the folks at Ray Gun Revival probably care. I find it disappointing that any publication that considers itself a professional market would ever send anything like it. Maybe there’s the rub: I assumed Ray Gun Revival aspired to be “professional.”
So to the editors at Ray Gun Revival—Mr. Johne Cook, Mr. Paul Christian Glenn, and Ms. L. S. King—maybe you think your “personal” rejections are edgy or amusing, but to me, they make your publication look amateurish and you a trio of unprofessional…well…let’s just leave it at that, shall we?