EVERY WEEK, REJECTION LETTERS FROM MY PAST.
BECAUSE THE HURT GOES AWAY AFTER A COUPLE
OF DECADES.

This Week in Rejection!

This Week in Rejection!: AEI

An attempt by Young Barry to land an agent. Met with form-letter failure.

(P.S. The lighting is lousy in this picture, so you can’t tell that the form letter is printed on paper that is a quite soothing and lovely shade of blue.)

AEI

This Week in Rejection!: DC Comics

Read — if you can stay awake for it — this truly horrible story synopsis that was deservedly rejected by DC Comics back in 1993. Then stick around for today’s lesson, kids…

dc_showcase

OK, so now that you’ve lost all respect for me as a writer, let me tell you something: That synopsis was actually for a truly amazing story! Honest. It was powerful and character-driven and loaded with pathos.

The problem, of course, is that I gave precisely zero indication of that in the synopsis, choosing instead to write something so generic and vague that the editor in question (quite rightly) wrote “Nothing unique” on it.

Whose fault is this? Duh. Mine. I was trying to hold something back. Trying to keep the story’s twists a secret so as to… So as to…

I don’t know! I don’t know what the hell I was thinking, to be honest with you. When you’re pitching a story to someone, you have to tell them everything. You can’t be coy and hold back the twists and surprises — they need to know these things to decide if they’re going to buy it or not! I got mixed up. I confused the editor for the reader.

Bad mistake.

Don’t try to impress an editor with your ability to leave him or her hanging off a cliff. Impress him or her with your story.

This Week in Rejection!:

This is from many, many years ago, for an old sci-fi novel. It was quite rightly turned down — it need a lot of work.

I still think of it often, though. Someday I’ll go back to it and fix it up and maybe I’ll show it to y’all.

berkley books

This Week in Rejection!: TriQuarterly

If you combine these with my other rejection slip from them,1 you’d get a whole sheet of paper!

I wonder when they changed color from green to gray?

triquarterly_2



  1. Three rejections from TriQuarterly — appropriate!

This Week in Rejection!: Gulf Stream Magazine

gulf_streamI forgave them. Mostly because their letterhead is so cool looking.