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The long and short of rejection.

I got a surprising email from Sniplits yesterday, rejecting my 1000-word flash fiction, About Your Speech.

The surprise part was not so much the nice comment telling me they’d welcome seeing more of my work (always good to hear
), but the fact that I don’t remember ever sending them the story. 


I later discovered I’d sent it on April 10, 2008, some 477 days earlier.


By way of contrast, my fastest rejection to date was for my YA Urban Fantasy, Fur-Face.  An agent who’d read the book, but doesn’t represent YA, said she liked it, and suggested another agent, telling me to say that I’d recommended her in my query email.


I got a form rejection from one of that agent's slush readers within about three hours.


How about you?


When it comes to rejections, what are your quickest and longest (please note: 'no reply’ doesn’t count)? 

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( 49 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jul. 29th, 2009 01:14 pm (UTC)
I think my longest was about a month. The shortest was less than a day. Both short stories. I'm still working on crafting my novel before that goes out there.

There's something off about a Flash site taking over a year to get around to answering a submission.
Jul. 29th, 2009 01:17 pm (UTC)
They were most apologetic for taking so long. I wonder if they're under new management, or at least newly-inspired management :)
Jul. 29th, 2009 01:15 pm (UTC)
Quickest, something like 3 days. Longest, by far, 9 months. Favorite rejection story: The day I dropped a submission in the mail slot (this was a few years ago, before so much started being done on-line), slid two steps to the left, opened my mailbox and pulled out...a rejection letter. At that point I was glad I had moved in that order, because if I had seen the rejection first, I might not have submitted that day.
Jul. 29th, 2009 01:18 pm (UTC)
I know what you mean. It's one thing to decide not to let rejection affect us, it's quite another to manage it :)
Jul. 29th, 2009 01:50 pm (UTC)
Are we talking books or short stories?

Books, it would have to be about a year and a half. Years ago I sent my first effort to Del Rey, back when they still had a slush pile. After a year, I sent them an anniversary card. Then I started calling. They then announced they were not taking unsolicited manuscripts anymore, and my husband said, "It's your fault!" I suspect I was not the only one complaining. They did eventually send my m.s. back with a form rejection letter. By then I had a decent printer so I stopped sending postage to get the m.s. back and just sent an SASE. When I was sending to DAW, the reviewer would pass the book on but it would take almost a year for the editor to then reject it-- not with a form letter, though.

Short stories I have gotten rejections back later that same day.
Jul. 29th, 2009 01:54 pm (UTC)
Lol, sounds like the reverse of my experience :)
Jul. 29th, 2009 01:51 pm (UTC)
Quickest Rejection:
4 hours, Lone Star Stories

Longest Rejection:
somewhere near a year, New Yorker.
Jul. 29th, 2009 01:54 pm (UTC)
On the one hand, same day rejection hurts, but on the other, at least we haven't had time to get our hopes too high :)
Jul. 29th, 2009 02:07 pm (UTC)
A 'big name' kept one of my short stories for well over a year, repeatedly losing it, and apologizing for it. And after all that rejected it. :( Tied it up for a solid year too. Never subbing there again.

I think the quickest rejection I got was about a day or so ... quickest acceptance was just the other day, it was only about two hours ... I think I have three or four rejections that were more or less a year.

Jul. 29th, 2009 03:42 pm (UTC)
Ooh, congrats on the quick acceptance. Those are the the kind of two hour replies I'd like to get :)

What was it for?
(no subject) - bosleygravel - Jul. 30th, 2009 12:47 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jul. 30th, 2009 10:10 am (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 29th, 2009 02:10 pm (UTC)
I think my official fastest was from F&SF. I mailed the manuscript out monday morning on the way to work, and the rejection arrived by that friday.

Longest...hang on let me check.

Still going. A story that's been out since November, and no word yet. I'd be stir crazy, but frankly, I'm a tad busy in other ways at the moment, so I don't feel compelled to collapse that wave just yet.
Jul. 29th, 2009 03:46 pm (UTC)
A tad busy? I'd have thought it was young Lucas's job to change the diapers now? :)
Jul. 29th, 2009 02:16 pm (UTC)
Congrats on the referrel. That's good going!
Jul. 29th, 2009 03:48 pm (UTC)
Thanks, it certainly gave me a confidence boost :)

You all set for WorldCon? - or MondeCon as the French might say ;)
(no subject) - peadarog - Jul. 29th, 2009 04:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jul. 29th, 2009 04:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 29th, 2009 03:48 pm (UTC)
A year and a half? That's even worse than mine :(
Jul. 29th, 2009 02:37 pm (UTC)
My shortest was about 6 hours. Longest...well, even though I know my story wasn't accepted, I'm still waiting for the rejection letter. I sent it out November '07. :D
Jul. 29th, 2009 03:50 pm (UTC)
Hehe, I think it's safe to assume the November '07 people aren't gonna reply anytime soon :)
Jul. 29th, 2009 03:10 pm (UTC)
I once got an under-a-minute rejection. Literally! I put together the submission, hit send, moved on to the next submission in my queue and got a reply. A form reject that said, basically that after careful consideration, they decided it wasn't for them. Hmmmm...careful? I'm thinking the addy was set on auto-response.

So far, I've not been at this submission thing long enough to have one out more than four-ish months. Oh! But I did get a really nice reject from a flash market about six months after I'd submitted. The rejector said, "I would have bought it right off the bat, but it has to be unanimous and it wasn't." Ah, well.
Jul. 29th, 2009 03:51 pm (UTC)
One of the reasons I submit to Flash Me and Every Day Fiction is that they give you one-line feedback from several of the slush panel. It's really useful :)
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Jul. 29th, 2009 04:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jul. 29th, 2009 04:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Jul. 29th, 2009 04:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jul. 29th, 2009 04:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Jul. 29th, 2009 05:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - therinth - Jul. 29th, 2009 11:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jul. 30th, 2009 12:01 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dqg_neal - Jul. 29th, 2009 04:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jul. 29th, 2009 05:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Jul. 29th, 2009 05:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 29th, 2009 04:09 pm (UTC)
Would you say you've had similar experience with artwork?
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jul. 29th, 2009 05:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 29th, 2009 03:58 pm (UTC)
Which do you prefer? The quick rejection, or the slow acceptance? They each have their advantages.
Jul. 29th, 2009 04:10 pm (UTC)
Hehe, neither I like the quick acceptance, like the one bosley got (see above).
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 29th, 2009 04:36 pm (UTC)
I figure we all need to note these sort of stats about our works, for when we're on Oprah or whatever in years to come, don't you? ;)
Jul. 29th, 2009 08:07 pm (UTC)
I do believe I have material out in agentland that I submitted five years ago. It hasn't been rejected, of course. They're just giving it a thorough read and passing it around the office, fighting over which one will get to represent it.

Straight From Hel (http://straightfromhel.blogspot.com)
Jul. 29th, 2009 08:12 pm (UTC)
Now that's what I call a positive attitude :)

Enjoyed your post at the Blood-Red Pencil today, by the way :)
Jul. 29th, 2009 09:39 pm (UTC)
My shortest was a matter of hours.

Longest was a whopping 23 months!
Jul. 29th, 2009 09:41 pm (UTC)
Ladies and gentleman, I do believe we have a winner :)
(no subject) - jjschwabach - Jul. 30th, 2009 11:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
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