It's holiday time, and guess what editors do this time of year? They clean our their desks and send out rejections by the dozens—it’s the gift that keeps on giving! You've heard what people say about comedy coming from pain. That's why Pamela Jane is offering a new way to look at rejections—with humor. Be on the look out for these 10 standbys; they may show up in your inbox.
I feel it in my fingers
I feel it in my toes
Christmas is all around me
And so rejection grows
It’s holiday time, and guess what editors do this time of year? They clean our their desks and send out rejection letters and emails by the dozens. It’s the gift that keeps on giving! You’ve heard what people say about comedy coming from pain. That’s why I laugh at rejections. Be on the look out for these 10 standbys; they may show up in your inbox!
1. The rejection used to repair furniture
“When my office was moved yesterday, your enclosed manuscript emerged from under my desk. I am sorry.”
Hey, it's okay to use my manuscript to prop up your desk!
2. The one-book-per-minute rejection
I once had ten picture book manuscripts rejected by an editor in ten minutes over the telephone. That’s a book a minute, an all-time record!
3. The “You don’t exist” rejection
I wrote an essay about my childhood fear that I didn’t exist, which was accepted by an internationally renowned journal. I was ecstatic. Now I’d know for sure I existed! Then, just before the presses rolled, my editor informed me that his boss didn’t find my piece “as charming” as he did, and my essay about nonexistence became nonexistent.
4. The rejection for a fan letter sent to a favorite author
A friend of mine wrote a fan letter to J.K. Rowling, and got it back from the publisher—rejected.
5. The writers-don’t-do-anything rejection
This rejection comes from astute readers at an author visit to an elementary school.
Child #1: Do you draw the pictures for your book?
Child #2: Do you glue the covers on?
Child # 3: Do you make all the copies yourself?
Me: Not exactly…
Child #4 (puzzled): What do you do?
6. The-editor-changes-her-sign-off rejection
Recently I got an email from an editor interested in acquiring a manuscript.
“I just love your story!” she gushed. “Please make suggested revisions and send back immediately.” She signed the email, “Warmly, Mags.” She remained “Mags”—until she turned down the revision. Then she became a frosty “Margaret.”
7. The infamous holiday gift rejection
Editors like to clean out their desks before the holidays, so prepare for a special surprise.
8. The disappearing book rejection
My friend, Jack, flew to Los Angeles to do a signing for his new book. When he arrived, he discovered the publisher had sent another author’s books by mistake. The title they sent? The Encyclopedia of Things That Never Were.
9. The rejection for something you didn’t write
“Thanks so much for being kind enough to return the errant manuscript you received from us. We're thinking perhaps one of your envelopes attached itself to the wrong manuscript.”
10. My favorite rejection
My favorite rejection came from my daughter, Annelise, who was seven at the time. She walked into my office holding a piece of paper.
“Look, Mommy, I can read!” she said proudly.
“Dear Pamela,” she began, sounding out the words, “I am sorry to say I cannot evaluate any new manuscripts for the next six months…”
Laughing at rejections is good therapy and when you get an acceptance, you will definitely get the last laugh.
Pamela Jane is an essayist and the author of over thirty books, including An Incredible Talent for Existing: A Writer’s Story, and Pride and Prejudice and Kitties: A Cat-Lover’s Romp Through Jane Austen’s Classic, which was featured in The Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal, BBC America, and The New York Times Sunday Book Review. Her essays have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Writer’s Digest, The Writer, and The Philadelphia Inquirer.