I have a story I want to re-read and re-work if necessary, and once it’s ready I’m going to try to send it out again. I think it’s good, I’m just not sure that anyone else will. I sent it out once, but never heard back. That’s what I really hate. I can take rejection letters. It’s when I get no response at all that drives me crazy. It says to me that my story wasn’t even good enough to call for a response, positive or negative. I know that some markets just don’t respond unless they’re planning on buying the story. I just think that’s a cop-out. I can’t see that it would take so long to print out generic rejection letters and send them out. Beginning writers don’t necessarily expect personal letters, and actually a rejection letter with a note or suggestion is a good thing. But for the average, “we just don’t want this” kind of rejection, a form letter is fine. It’s better than nothing.
I would like to say that if I ran a magazine or literary journal, I would always let people submitting stories know one way or another. But I can also see that it might not be possible if I was a small publication and had to deal with a lot of submissions. Just the cost of postage might make that prohibitive. But it would have to be very small, and the number of submissions would have to be huge for that to be the case. If I were one of the bigger magazines, I would send out responses. I know they get far more submissions, and that it would cost more to send out all those letters, but it would still be worth it.
Another point is that many markets are accepting online/email submissions. How expensive would an email response be? Especially the form letter type, where you’d have one email, and just send BCCs to all the rejected submissions that didn’t call for a more personal touch. Click. Done. No cost to speak of.
I’m sure that there are reasons for not responding to every submission, just like I’m sure there are reasons for not responding to every applicant that applies for a job. Still, I’ve seen large companies ignore applications, and tiny companies respond to every inquiry. I like that way better.
Do you prefer to get a response, even if it’s a rejection, or would you rather not hear at all?