The Six-Minute Rejection

One of my all-time favorite rejection stories to tell isn’t mine. A friend of mine who is a well-published writer (in multiple genres), holder of a Ph.D. in Creative Writing, and professor, shared the most amazing rejection story on her blog a couple of years ago.

I’m paraphrasing here, but basically, she sent a story to an editor and six minutes later, she received a rejection email.

Fastest rejection in the East! Whoa, put the brakes on! Six minutes?!

That was my initial reaction. I told my Advanced Comp students about her experience and they were duly flabbergasted as well, but it allowed us to delve into why she (or anyone) would receive such a fast rejection response.

Knowing my friend and her writing, I know this piece was probably stellar and brilliant and creative and well-executed and polished, so it certainly isn’t that it was poorly written. Perhaps something was off in the story, or perhaps the editor just didn’t like it (and that’s okay!). Or perhaps it wasn’t a good fit, or didn’t fit that editor’s idea of the next issue at the moment.

The piece was short, so she rationalized that it probably only took the editor five minutes to read the entire thing.

But still.


That hurts just thinking about it.

And then I got my own version of the six-minute rejection. I sent a piece last year to an editor and about an hour later, it was rejected. However, I looked at that quick response as a blessing. My friend’s story and my essay were not wrangled up in an editorial limbo or stuck, unread, in someone’s inbox for two, three, six months. It was fast, yes, but it was also merciful.

I prefer editors who respond quickly when they know right away they don’t want my work. I’m fine with their judgment and confident decision-making and you should be, too. Consider yourself fortunate if you get rejected quickly. Because to wait three or more months only to be rejected is time wasted – time you could have been revising it or submitting that piece elsewhere.

The next time you get a speedy rejection, rejoice! And send that baby out again. šŸ™‚

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