After I ran last week’s article, Don’t Argue With Editors After Rejection, I received an irate email from a woman whose article was recently rejected. (Contrary to our guidelines, she’d submitted an unsolicited piece without querying first.) She called my writing “a sham of an article.”
What’s interesting about this is that she was a previous, paid contributor to one of my books. We had a friendly working relationship, but that didn’t stop her from spewing venom in response to a professional and friendly rejection.
While last week’s article wasn’t about her article in particular, she assumed it was. She wasted an incredible amount of time and energy writing me a scathing, five-paragraph email. She accused me of not telling her why I’d rejected her article, and told me that was my job. I went back and checked (I save almost everything) and found my rejection. It states, “I’m sorry but, while this is a good article, it’s a bit too basic for our readers.”
Her response to that initial rejection was a very defensive and rude email that included this statement, “Before I sent this in, I checked other articles you’ve published and none seemed that ‘specialized’ to me. I’ll be submitting it elsewhere!”
Honestly, if you were an editor and received an email like that, would you ever order an article from that writer? Do writers who do this think they’re going to scare the editor into buying their article? Believe me, it has the opposite effect. I don’t even respond to those types of emails anymore. When someone gets that defensive about a professional (and even complimentary!) rejection, it’s a complete waste of time to try to soothe them.
Unfortunately, those responses to rejections are even more common than the argumentative ones. As Leigh Ann states in this week’s Letters column, if you respond to a rejection by being rude to the editor, you’ll never get an assignment from that publication. Remember to never take rejection personally. It’s the most common part of a writer’s job.