A Literary Magazine That Doesn’t Send Rejection Letters

Before my fellow writers and artists start doing backflips in the snow, let me clarify, the editors at this magazine still reject your work, they just don’t tell you.

Yep, a fairly new magazine (two issues published and currently seeking submissions for the third issue to be published in April) called The Birds We Piled Loosely is no longer sending rejection letters. Now, when I first read this in their submission guidelines, I was quite perplexed. How will I know my work is rejected? Do I just sit on my hands and wait several months for an acceptance letter (the only response) to never come? How cruel is that!

I know we writers complain about rejection letters a lot—they’re too impersonal; they’re so personal and supportive of our work, they leave us wondering why it wasn’t selected; they trash our writing with nasty feedback. I myself have had a couple rants thanks to my overly-sensitive-writer-syndrome, but does that mean I want to get rid of the rejection letter altogether? I’ve already gotten so used to it! I think the worst kind of rejection letter would actually be no rejection letter at all. I mean, what if my work is accepted elsewhere? Do I bother to notify you? Who’s to say you haven’t already rejected me by then? And how come you don’t have to tell me that you hate my work, but I have to tell you that it’s published somewhere else? (yea, yea, I know, copyright issues, but still, it’s the principle!)

(Now that I think about it, don’t big-time, traditional publishing houses leave manuscripts sinking in the slush piles without the thought of a rejection letter? I wouldn’t know. Still a first timer here.)

What frustrates me even more is that I submitted a few poems to this magazine for its inaugural issue. My poems were rejected and I received a mass email that clearly had all the rejectees Bc-ed in. So that tells me that these editors went from one email sent to everyone to no emails sent to anyone! How lazy! I know of a few magazines run by one and two-person staffs who still make sure to send out personal responses to all of their submitters. What’s your problem, Loose Birds?

I may be overreacting just a little, but I’m a writer; who would I be if I didn’t overreact to just few tiny things? Who knows, I might submit to this magazine anyway. It looks nice even though it’s an online PDF publication, and the work they’ve published so far is actually quite good, I just don’t understand the whole “no rejection letter” thing.

What are your thoughts? Would you submit to a magazine that didn’t send out rejection letters? Would you rather have a generic “it didn’t fit with our magazine,” response, or the even more impersonal none response?


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