Seriously, people: When you’re trolling in the anonymous mines of Unpublishedom, a kind word can go a long way. And not all rejection letters have to be about rejection itself. Witness:
Yeah, this is a rejection letter, but only in the sense that it’s not an acceptance letter. By which I mean this: Read this letter. Really read it, from start to finish. It’s focus isn’t on, “So sorry; no soup for you.” but rather on the nuts and bolts of why people get rejected and how they can work towards changing that. It’s got a personal note about the lateness of the reply — showing that there are people at the other end of this process who acknowledge and respect the time and hard work of those who submit stories. And best of all, OMG, there’s that bit from the Advisory Board Committee. I’ll be honest with you, folks: Being compared to T.S. Eliot AT ALL totally made up for being rejected at this point. I didn’t even care that the story didn’t get published. I was just flabbergasted that someone — ANYone — would say something about my work, even in the context of turning it down.
I really think this is possibly one of the most helpful rejection letters I’ve ever received. I know not everyone has the time or resources to put together a rejection like this, but damn! When you get one like this one, it completely keeps you going!