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Monday, August 22, 2011

Avoiding Rejection

I hate delivering rejections.  I know what it feels like to be on the receiving end.  But last week, I had to reject two pieces.  The first submission was a short article for 7 – 9 year olds.  The second was a personal essay.   

Our magazine guidelines state that the word count for 7 – 9 year olds should run 400 – 800 words.  The writer had not achieved the correct word count that we require.  In addition, the concept and language were too advanced for young children.

The second submission was a first person narrative.  Most nonfiction articles that we publish are written in 3rd person or in some cases, 2nd person.  Though well-written, we simply don’t publish these kinds of pieces.  

All is not lost however, for the two writers whose articles were rejected.  My assistant and I offered them advice in terms of editing and marketing their work.  But what two things could they have done to have avoided rejection?  I have two suggestions:  follow our contributor guidelines and read a few published pieces from our magazine. 

By studying the guidelines, these writers would have known exactly what we expect from our contributors (topics, formatting, word count, etc.)  By reading a few sample articles, they would have gotten a feel for the voice and tone of our published pieces. 

There is no guarantee these two suggestions will garner an acceptance.  Every editor has her own likes and dislikes.  But when writers follow the guidelines and read sample copies, they can reduce the chances of getting a rejection.  Writers will be better equipped to offer an editor an article that she's more likely to publish.     



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