There is a really quick way for a writer to get rejected. You don’t even have to do anything to guarantee it. In fact, doing nothing will guarantee it. It’s so easy, it should be illegal.
You’re dying to find out how to get rejected, now, aren’t you? What could the road to this quick rejection be?
Okay, I’ll tell you.
DO NOT READ THE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES.
The beauty of this method is it works whether you’re submitting to an agent, a small press, a writing contest, a big three publisher, a literary journal, a magazine or any other print or online media that accepts writing submissions. It’s a foolproof method. They will ALL reject you.
Why would you wish to be rejected, you may ask. I have no frigging idea. BUT I do know that people submit to some or all of these places without reading the submission guidelines. “Submission guidelines? Hmph!” I imagine some people saying, “Those are for people who don’t know how to write!”
If you’re among the group that does not read submission guidelines, keep doing what you’re doing. You’ll get just as many acceptances as you deserve. ZERO. A big fat Nada!
How do I know there are people out there who do not bother to read submission guidelines? Because I’ve been on the receiving end of some real doozies! I was editor for an online literary journal. We received several submissions a day. Every morning, I would go in and peruse the submissions received overnight. For an example, lets say there were 27 submissions received overnight. Without even getting to the actual submitted writing itself, I could easily reject 15 of those submissions just by reading the body of the email. Submission guidelines are posted for a reason. When an editor, contest organizer or agent, etc, has an inbox full of submissions, do you really think they’re going to read work by people who didn’t even have the common decency to read their submission guidelines? I’ll answer that question for you. The answer is NO.
By reading every single word of the submission guidelines, and checking them off as you prepare your submission, you at least stand a fighting chance of having your work considered. Why chop off your legs before the work is even reviewed? Why would someone do that?
Slush piles can be enormous. An easy way for someone to get through their slush pile is to weed out the bad apples. A bad apple, in this case, is someone who doesn’t care. Someone who doesn’t take the time. So, go ahead. Ignore those submission guidelines. You’re just making it easier for the agent, editor, acquisitions person to push your material from the slush pile to the junk pile. And let’s face it, they need all the help they can get getting through that stack.
READ. THE. SUBMISSION. GUIDELINES.AND.FOLLOW. THEM. TO. THE. LETTER. Don’t give them an opportunity to reject you before you even get your foot in the door. You have a responsibility to put your best foot forward.