Do you know what the collective noun for rejection letters is? No? Battlefield. Lately I have received a battlefield of rejections. All right, that’s a lie: there is no collective word for rejections. But there should be.
This last week or so I have seen a number of them fly into my inbox, so much so that I started to wonder if all these publishers had gone for a coffee together and agreed to reject me at the same time. Whether it is my novel or the various short stories I have got out there to be judged, none of my words seem to be immune to a shake of the head and the proverbial red pen.
Sure, it can be disheartening when you see something that you’ve put a lot of work into, be cast aside with the same simple stock rejection note that has probably been sent to dozens of poor writers before me, but that’s infinitely better than not hearing anything at all, and that happens far too often.
Years ago, before submitting a piece became (mostly) an electronic affair, you would hear tales of paranoid writers sending out their novel and delicately sticking a single hair in between a couple of pages. That way, when it was returned they would know if their work had even been read, let alone reviewed. Nowadays, that kind of insurance measure is impossible, and we just have to take an editor’s word when they pass on our literary gold for something else.
But you have to have a thick skin in this industry, and mine is beginning to feel like leather.