Rejection Letter: Dear Mr. Warhol...
FLASHBACK to YESTERDAY:
So it's tomorrow and yesterday I mentioned the above--how as an editor, I've noticed that in resubmitting to press, men and women do it differently.
Here is what I've noticed (and I would *love* to be proved wrong on this, btw) --
If an editor of our press rejects work from a male writer, but writes something like, "This came close. We'd like to see more of your work in the future, please resubmit" - we will usually receive another submission from the male writer within a month (though sometimes two) after he receives his rejection.
When we send this same note to a woman writer, she will resubmit maybe in 3-6 months (if that) but more likely it will be later than 6 months and sometimes a year (or the next submission season later). Sometimes she will not resubmit at all.
I do not know why this is, but as a woman writer who grew up in the age of not imposing on people or being a bother, here is my guess to why--
When we ask a man to resubmit, he thinks, "They like my work and they want more; I better get them more soon before they don't want it anymore." And the submission is sent. (Right now, there's that cliche' line about men "wanting to spread their seed" going through my head. )
When we ask a woman to resubmit she thinks, "When would be the best time to resubmit? I don't want to seem pushy, but I do want to get them my work. Maybe I should wait a few months so I don't seem desperate or so I don't irritate them by submitting so fast. Do they really want to see more work, or were they just being nice? I'm sure they want to see more work, but I should probably wait a couple months, I wouldn't want to be an imposition and it would be better manners and more respectful to wait a bit. Or should I? Yes, I'll play it cool and wait a few months. I wouldn't want to impose."
And then the woman writer waits and either forgets or send her submission out a few months to a year later. (The generalization of women over-thinking things is going through my head right now.)
I hope this post is a big generalization, but so far as being an editor (and a woman writer) it's been my experience.
I have even done this myself. Once to the point where I was so happy with the handwritten rejection from the New Yorker when Alice Quinn was there that said to "send more," I didn't resubmit for years because an almost from the New Yorker was good enough for me. And in fact, by resubmitting, I might actually fail, get back a blank rejection as opposed to this feel-good-rejection-note I had just received. Why trade mediocrity for possible rejection? I must have been thinking.
I have also received a note saying, "We'd like to see more of your work. We liked what we say, please resubmit." And my response was to wait until the next year to send again because I didn't want to send too soon.
I no longer do that. If someone likes my work and wants to see more (and it's a journal I want to get published in), I send them more within a month of receiving their note.
So Ladies, Women Writers, Sisters of Poetry and Prose--
When an editor tells you they like your work and asks you to resubmit, do so and do so soon after.
The men have it right-- the editors do want to see your work and you want to submit before they forget about you and your work. You want your name to be on the tip of their tongues and not hiding in the back of their mind.
This is where many of our "have good manners and think about other's feelings" good-girl childhoods do not serve us well.
I know when we say at Crab Creek Review that we want to see more of your work, we do. We're not just saying it to be nice. And we don't say it to everyone. If we did, we'd be creating a lot of unneeded work for ourselves.
So let's say it together-- If an editor says they want to see more of your work, they want to see more of your work--they are not just saying it to be nice. So send them more work and within the next two months of receiving the note. No later. I mean it. You have permission to respond quickly and professionally. And no one thinks anything bad of you. Promise.
You are not being pushy or rude, you are taking care of your writing life.
And to the Gentlemen who are reading--
Men, Good Chaps, Brothers of Poetry & Prose ---
Keep doing what you're doing. But less poems about killing frogs when you were a boy. And less epic work, we like your shorter poems best.
~ ~ ~
P.S. To anyone who got to this blog because they googled "submit like a man" - you are probably very disappointed right now...