How does one graciously respond to a rejection letter?
It’s a question many writers have asked at one time or another when we’ve received a rejection letter from a market whom we had high hopes that would accept our work, but didn’t. The rejection comes and all of our dreams feel hopeless. We feel rejected instead of our work. We want to respond. The need is urgent, but we don’t want to burn a bridge.
Or do we?
Here is the problem we face in the digital age when using email and submission manager systems like Submittable. People think it’s okay to simply send a response in the moment, but it’s not.
It’s really, really not.
The truth is that sending a response doesn’t help the editors reconsider their decision no matter how courteous and thoughtful you feel your response might be. In fact, it might even harm you. Not just in submitting more work to that magazine, but to any magazine in the future.
Editors talk. We share common stories. We even come to each other for support when working with difficult people. If you’ve been reactive to a rejection or just difficult, chances are people are going to talk about you and not in a good way.
You are free to choose, but you are not free from the consequences of your actions.
So, the question remains: how does one graciously respond to a rejection letter?
The answer: you don’t respond at all.
We all take our lumps. Not every work is going to be the right fit for whatever market we send it to and that’s okay. Move on to the next and to the next and to the next until you finally find that perfect place.
Just don’t burn bridges you don’t have to because you’re upset and your ego is bruised. You’ll regret it later and you may not be able to take it back.