I have sent several short stories, poems and queries over the years. I remember two in particular that were “sort of” rejected. I say this because, while it was a rejection of the work I did, the editors made note of why I’d been rejected. Not for lack of story or my work was incredibly bad…or at least they didn’t say that.
I wrote a short story for children back when my girls were little and sent it to a children’s publication…complete with stamped, self-addressed envelope. A few weeks later my envelope came back…they did not want my story. Why? Not because they did not like it….they had already bought a similar story….and asked that I send another article another time. I never looked at it as a rejection but more as encouragement to try again.
Also, I pitched my first full length novel at a writer’s convention a few years back….they loved the pitch and asked for the first three chapters and the synopsis. After returning home I wrote a cover letter to the editor I’d spoken with and enclosed it with the chapters and synopsis….put it in the mail and waited. It took a few more weeks but I soon received a letter from the very editor I’d met. She liked the story, she liked the concept…but that particular division was closing down and she was getting sent to another part of the company. They were no longer accepting novels for that line…but if I could rewrite the story and try again to resubmit it to them. Rejected? Not exactly. It wasn’t a sale but it was a great letter, signed and personally addressed to me….letting me know she had actually liked the chapters.
So I cannot look at rejection letters as always a bad thing. Maybe you are rejected due to the economy, the number of submissions that are just like yours, even the end of a category of books.
It hurts to not be accepted…but these letters show editors do read and care about the work they receive. Letters of encouragement are fabulous…not quite a rejection…but a push towards the chance to be accepted.