Hello and greetings to Spring, Dear Readers!
Call it Spring Fever. Or call it the Angries from a mother who just celebrated the 2nd anniversary of her child's birth and death. But whatever you call it, my ranting editorial this month is about the etiquette of submissions.
People, get a clue about the business of your art. I realize that our audience is half grieving parents who aren't in this for art or business, but rather they are in it for heart and healing. But the OTHER HALF of you are poets. Freelance Poets. You know what that makes you? A Freelance Writer. So get a clue about the business of your art.
This particular rant comes from an experience I recently had after sending a rejection letter to a poet who had submitted work to us for consideration. Now there are lots of reasons for rejections. I know you aren't going to believe me and you are going to take rejection personally anyway. BUT I'm going to tell you that there are lots of reasons for rejection anyway. One is the mere fact of physical space. We get HUNDREDS of submissions each quarter (for which we are grateful and thank the Goddess) and we have approximately 30 spaces available for poems in each issue of the online Journal. Okay, so sheer numbers alone mean that rejection letters go out.
Other reasons for rejection letters might be that what you submitted doesn't fit the theme. Or what you submitted didn't connect on a SUBJECTIVE level with the editor or judge who looked at your work. You can be idealistic if you want, but the truth is that no one is objective. Every editor and judge is SUBJECTIVE. They mostly pick what they like, what speaks to them about what's happening in their own growth, development, personal life, whatever.
So here's the deal. If you get a rejection letter, and you have to write back to the editor, then try writing back to simply ask why your work wasn't chosen. Don't be a smarty pants, don't be smarmy, don't be an idiot and threaten the editor with your violent intellect. Simply ask why.
And if you don't want to know why, then don't ask! And just remember that submission is a game of statistics. It isn't art. It's business. If you take a pieces that one editor rejects and send it out to 100 other editors, then chances are that 98 others will reject it, too-- BUT guess what? Probably 2 will take it, love it, praise you for it, maybe even pay you! It's subjective. It's a game of statistics. It's isn't personal. Got it?
Okay, so I gave this rant to a good friend after a poet wrote back a smarmy letter to me, and my lovely brilliant genius friend wrote the note below in reply to me. Now, Dear Reader, take this note seriously and LEARN once and for all that this is the kind of note that you should NEVER EVER send back to an editor unless you want that editor to never ever read your work again. Chances are if you aren't smarmy, that editor will encourage you to send more in the next round and if you keep sending and keep communicating with that editor, chances are they will publish you eventually just to get you off their back!
So, the following is an example of DON'T WRITE THIS:
Miracles and lessons to you,
Kara L.C. Jones, Dakota's Mommy