As rejection letters go…

…it’s a pret­ty good one.

I sub­mit­ted a short-sto­ry pro­pos­al for a forth­com­ing anthol­o­gy in hon­our of Sir Ter­ry Pratch­ett. I knew going in that it was a long shot — they’re look­ing for humor­ous writ­ing, and the sto­ry I pro­posed is about a 9‑year-old child deal­ing with his father’s can­cer diag­no­sis — so I was­n’t ter­ri­bly1 surprised.

From the rejec­tion let­ter2 itself:

The rea­son we didn’t select your work on this occa­sion was that

  • It did­n’t quite have the humor­ous char­ac­ter­is­tics we’re look­ing for.
  • The sam­ple was occa­sion­al­ly a lit­tle con­fus­ing.3

  • We both enjoyed your sto­ry, and it was a close call as far as sub­mis­sions went.

  • Please don’t judo us for the rejec­tion, and best of luck in your future writ­ing projects.

Please under­stand that while your mate­r­i­al does not fit the bill for our cur­rent project, we encour­age you to con­tin­ue writ­ing, and wish you the best of luck in future. 

So… I will con­tin­ue with this lit­tle tale, and find a new mar­ket for it. (Any­one inter­est­ed? It’s about the col­li­sion of fan­ta­sy worlds and real-life pain.)


  1. Ini­tial­ly I wrote real­ly here, but I recent­ly went over this list with my appren­tices, and maybe I should try to prac­tice what I preach. 
  2. Well, email. 
  3. My dar­ling wife, read­ing over my shoul­der, said, “See? That’s what I keep say­ing too!”