Among the hardest lessons learned in the article submission process come from rejection.
Although it can be quite difficult, I don’t allow rejection get me down. While disappointed to hear bad news like anyone else, I know that the word “no” is not the end of the line with a manuscript.
Or with the publisher.
After you’ve digested the bitter feeling of rejection, it is important to look at the big picture.
Rejection may not be a direct reflection on the quality of your article submission. Magazines and journals can only offer so many pages to unsolicited submissions. Once they fill their quota on a certain type of material, they close that area down. If your manuscript comes along after that point, they’re going to say no.
Whenever I get a rejection letter, I always follow up. Usually, I send a simple “thank you” email back to whoever wrote the no. Maybe that kind of gratitude has been engrained in me after sending a hundred thank you letters to my benefactors after college graduation, but they really do open doors.
The bitter feeling dissolves fast when an editor offers a personal reply. While pleading does not lead to acceptance, a thank you can lead to valuable clues on what to do next.
I have been told to check out other magazines seeking similar material after a rejected article submission. I have been given keen editorial advice. Editors fight for the work they believe in and it’s nice to know you had a fan.
A simple thank you can yield a lot of intangible results.
Success should be handled the same way. Once the editor has said yes, you have now entered into that coveted professional relationship. Time to dust off the colleague hat.
My response to a “yes” submission is also to give thanks, but I quickly follow up with an offer of help. I say that I’m available for edits. I offer to spread the word via social media when we get to publication.
It is best to remove the mystery of who you’re working with. Most editors are single people (or loosely bound teams of volunteers in different cities) whose non-glamourous responsibilities for the journal run from custodial to physical publishing to public relations. Avoid pestering them but make yourself available to do the necessary work and then follow up on your offer.
Yes or no, you’re building a relationship.