August 24, 2011

Change In Notifying Writers and Poets, And A Rant!

Hi Everyone!
Starting this issue (in fact, starting right now), we will be notifying readers and writers and poets about who has been chosen for each issue via a post here on Enchanted Conversation. In other words, starting now, we will not be sending rejection emails to writings. The announcement for this issue (Cinderella) will be Sunday, August 28, no later than 11:5p pm., EST.

Here is how the process will go:

1) We will continue to acknowledge submissions with emails letting you know that we will be reading the submission.

2) We will let writers and poets know that their work has been chosen for an issue, via email and through a post on this site.

3) We will not be sending any more emails saying we will not be using someone's work.

Why the change? Several reasons. First, we are a skeleton staff. We have chosen to pay writers and poets at a professional rate. This means that the editing staff (currently consisting of only three people, all of whom have other work obligations) works gratis. The fewer steps we have to take the better for the publication.

The second reason is that over time, the rude responses to rejection notices have begun to take their toll. We don't consider ourselves noble or kind, but we do think that sneering responses from people stung by any kind of rejection (no matter how we word it) is bad form. Rejection is not personal. We get rejected as writers all the time, too. If you are a writer or poet, it's just part of the process. By announcing the chosen pieces rather than sending what are usually (but NOT always) form rejections, we can emphasize the positive and avoid emails from outraged writers telling us how stupid we are and how lucky we were to have a writer or poet of his or her caliber even think about having a piece of their work published in our lowly zine.

The sad fact is, when we raised our rates, the submissions increased, but so did the the volume of angry responses to rejection. In fact, the unpleasant emails have risen at a far higher rate than the submissions. The only way to deal with this is to change the process.

The final reason is time. We need it. Desperately. Any small time savings is a huge help. Please keep in mind that we read every submission the whole way through. We pass work we like onto other selection editors. That's where the lion's share of the work is on EC.

We have exciting changes in store for next year, as EC continues to evolve. We think writers, poets and most all, readers, will like the changes. Stick with us. We are hanging in there as well.


Rant over. Thank you. And please remember, the vast majority of people who submit are professional and great to work with, and we feel lucky to get the opportunity to do so, even though we have to turn so many talented people down. A figure to leave you with: We can only accept 5 percent of our submissions on average. That means we turn down a lot of fine work.


PS: The image is "The Fairytale Witch (me)," by Paula Modershon-Becker.


  1. I think your idea is a good had over 200 submissions? I can't imagine sending almost 200 rejections!

    And I think one of the nicer things you guys do is acknowledge receipt of submissions personally.

    Can't wait to see this issue!

  2. Wow. Ban the ranters! That'll teach em, if anything will!


  3. Okay...perhaps I missed the memo that sending nasty-grams in response to a rejection is GOOD for your career. That's just insane. And I appreciate this last thing:
    Ref: A figure to leave you with: We can only accept 5 percent of our submissions on average. That means we turn down a lot of fine work.

    I look forwward to the next issue.

  4. I've seen a lot of rejections as a writer, but I've always appreciated getting an actual rejection letter because it's better than waiting and never hearing anything. And EC's rejection letters have always been so nice, so I don't understand how so many writers could be so unappreciative of the effort.

  5. I think you've made a great decision, and it's really considerate to post an explanation! I'm embarrassed and really disappointed that there are writers out there who would respond so unprofessionally. No one should have to deal with that. I really respect you for putting your foot down on that negativity!! :)

    Also, I agree with Adina. I was delighted to get a personal response when you received my submission :) I'm glad you'll be continuing that.

  6. Wow, sorry to hear about the poor responses to rejections. Working as an editor myself, I totally sympathize--I've had my share of angry (and crazy!) emails from rejected writers. Looking forward to the next issue!

  7. I, too, am sorry to hear about the "sore loser" responses to rejection emails. I completely understand and support your decision to change your policy, and thank you, and your staff, so much for doing what you do just for the love of it! Can't wait to see the upcoming changes!

  8. I completely understand why you're moving to a time saving POST instead of individual rejection letters. But I, too, am terribly saddened that you've received enough angry emails to mention them. While I was managing editor and then later nonfiction editor of a magazine, I was thankful that the rejection decisions were handled by a dif editor than handled the main email account. This meant that as managing editor, I got a bunch of angry emails that meant nothing to me, but as nonfiction editor, I never saw one of them.

    Okay, I saw one but I'd asked him for a rewrite that turned out to still not be ready to publish. I have about 50/50 awful/awesome responses on rewrites.

    I think what you're doing here is great! (btw)

    - Eileen (<a href="Rumpelstiltskin Issue</a>)

  9. I agree with those above--it's unprofessional in the extreme to write a nasty response to a rejection letter. I'm sorry you had to put up with that. Whether or not my name is on the post this Sunday, I'm glad you're out here, giving writers a place to tell fairy tales and get paid a pro rate. Thanks.

  10. If people cannot cope with a simple rejection of their work, they need to get outta the writing game, like yesterday!

  11. It's very weird that people would respond so rudely. EVERYONE gets a rejection at some point in there life. Accept it gracefully and move on.

    Can't wait to read this issue!!

  12. You didn't accept my story! I hate you!

    No, honestly, with that many submissions, I know what my odds are, and they are SLIM. That's how it is. Plus, I'm a harsh enough judge of my own writing that I can take what anyone else throws at me.

    I would say I'm shocked at the responses, but after the way I have seen some authors respond to bad reviews (even going as far as sock puppetry on Amazon *cough*), I'm not surprised at all.

  13. So will you announce publicly the accepted stories, or at least a cutoff date, so the writers who haven't heard back know they can sub their stories elsewhere? If not, I have to say this is a very bad idea. You'll only be making life more difficult for writers, most of whom you agree are professional and great to work with.

    I just feel like getting snarky/stupid/whiny responses from jilted writers is part of running a magazine, just as getting useless form rejections is part of being a writer. If you don't have the skin for it, maybe you shouldn't be in the business.

    Yes, time is an issue, but it takes three seconds to reply to an email. I can't accept that time constraints prevent you from sending a form letter.

    Just my two cents.

  14. Of course it is only on a second read that I notice you say you're going to announce pieces accepted in posts rather than sending emails to the rejected. Well, that sort of renders my previous post null and void, doesn't it?

    Anyway, good luck with the change. I still don't think it's going to make much of a difference, but I hope it does.