News & Journeys of Author Kathryne Kennedy
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FOR WRITERS--Editor's Comments

I'm posting this in the hopes that someone can learn from my own 'goof'.  Earlier in my career, I started writing short stories, and I commented on my experiences in the "Short Stories" page of my website. As I said, many editors are downright wonderful, especially considering the number of manuscripts that cross their desk every day. But, being a total newbie in the business, I didn't realize how great they really were. So here's what happened. I submitted a short story to a magazine, and I received a two page critique from the editor. She ended the letter with "although I can't guarantee that I'd buy this story even with these changes". Okay, so inexperienced writer (ME), figured that, well, she just wasn't really interested (after all, she rejected it), but how nice of her to try to improve my writing with her comments. So I just sent the story off to another magazine, and didn't make any of the changes she suggested.


I later learned that editors do *not* have the time to write two pages of revisions for a story that hasn't, in some way, captured their mind or heart. I also learned that just because you received a rejection *it doesn't mean that the editor doesn't want it*.  Editors have to state that they can't guarantee anything, because legally, a request for revisions could constitute a contract.

I should have made all the changes she suggested and resubmitted it. There's a darn good chance she would have bought it, or at the very least, been very receptive to any new projects I might have submitted. And, if I really want to beat myself up, I should have realized that it was the very least I could have done. She spent a lot of time writing that letter, I should have been grateful enough to have spent the time making those revisions.

I know a lot more about the industry now, and so for all you new writers, please remember, a rejection doesn't necessarily mean 'no'. It could also mean 'maybe'.

2006-12-26 21:59:22 GMT
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