Just received my 2nd “regrettably” letter in two weeks. If you’re a writer, you know what this is. In this case, they were “regrettably” unable to advance one of my feature scripts for a fellowship. Odds were crazy slim and I finished in the top 15% , which is actually quite encouraging given the field, but it still stings.
Still, I appreciate and covet every “regrettably” letter I receive. (Not so much as I would covet a “please let us publish your work and throw money at you” letter, mind you.) But I covet them all the same. What they don’t tell you when you lovingly slide your freshly minted and printed manuscript into that manilla envelope, is quite often you’ll receive no word at all. Did they even get it? Perhaps it was lost in the mail or in the slush pile. Maybe they received it, read it, loved it, but due to a freak office mishap the cover page was separated from your manuscript and now they want to call you, they need to call you and beg you to allow them the honor of publishing it, but they can’t. This is what a writer does. Writes stories to help explain why no one wants their stories. It’s a manic place. What happened was this: maybe they read it and it wasn’t their thing, maybe they were horribly offended by it, maybe it was never even read. Essentially, they didn’t like it, they didn’t want it. So you waited with baited breath for 30 days, 6 weeks or 6 months for a response and it just never came, and it never will.
This kicker to the kicker? Most publishing houses only accept exclusive submissions. So while you’re waiting your 6 months for no apparent reason, you’re not even able to submit your manuscript to other publishers. It’s a hell of a system, really. Clearly devised by masochists. Why does anyone do this, again? Inexplicably but dependably I resubmitted last night because I am also a masochist.
In summation, I’ve decided to combine my love of “regrettably” letters, craft and recycling by wall papering my office with rejection letters. (After the novel, of coarse. Because I’m completely focused.)