Thursday, May 5, 2016

How NOT to Take a Rejection from Us

While stumbling around the internet today, I came across this. In essence, it was an author bemoaning a rejection letter he received from us. He was having a bad day and chose to rant on his blog about it. I've copied the pertinent part below, but you can click on that link to read the whole thing and verify that I'm not misquoting him.

My magnum opus received a rejection today, not for publication, but rather, that it was not qualified for a review by any “reviewers” on the website “The New Podler Review of Books: Small Press and self-published books worth reading”. Now I don’t remember ever submitting a review request to this site, although it’s possible. I don’t normally ask for reviews except when I am just putting a book out there and need a few ARC reviews posted so that the almighty ad sites will consider my money worth spending (and then I normally impose shamelessly on fellow authors).

Now the facts that the aforementioned review site is built on the most hideous of the free backdrops on the free “” and that my rejection came from a (free) Gmail address notwithstanding, their subtitle would suggest that my self-published book is “[not] worth reading”. Now had the site just said “Podler Reviews” I probably wouldn’t have given it a second glance. Okay, that AND if the current book under review didn’t have a cover (and writing) quality equivalent to that of a sixth-grader (no, that’s not true—not true at all. Such a commentary insults the sixth-grader).

I know, we’re supposed to have thick skin. And I usually do. Or pretend I do. But just as each time a reader enjoys my work it makes my day, not matter how many books I ever sell or have reviewed, it also stings when someone takes time out of their day to reject you. Doesn’t it? Or am I alone here, wandering in the literary desert of criticism with eyes gouged out and a bloody wrap around my head? It’s a bummer when people that consider dog poop as literature reject you as unreadable. I know, I know, it actually defies logic, but what can I say?

Now while this post was made three years ago, I couldn't help but reply. Things posted to the internet live forever or, at least, until they're taken down. As I write this, my comment is awaiting moderation. So here it is just in case it's rejected:
Ha! This is wonderful. I’ve only just now stumbled upon this post, so I shall respond on behalf of the New Podler Review of Books.

Your scathing criticism of our usage of free stuff is spot on and accepted. But we’re hardly alone in this.

We have changed the motto since you visited us. It was there from the beginning and was established by the site’s founder, who is no longer with us. I never thought that it was intended to alienate authors whose work was rejected by us. More like, “Here are some indie books that we came across that are good. Obviously, there are more, but [insert lame reason here].” We didn’t get to read The Martian or Wool when they were indies. Doesn’t mean they sucked.

I won’t apologize for the lame covers of some of the books on the site. Indie publishing has been plagued with that from the start. Instead, we’ve had a page dedicated to sites where indie authors can find affordable book cover designers.

Yeah, Blood Land was submitted to us via MailChimp, that mass mailing service. I don’t know if you used them or someone did it on your behalf. Regardless, it means that someone didn’t read our submission guidelines. Mystery/Thrillers really aren’t our thing. Maybe one of the available reviewers at the time was into it, but he/she took a pass for whatever reason.

If you had read our submissions page, at the bottom you would’ve seen this:

“We reject over 95% of the submissions we receive, and that includes the very good along with the not so good. If you’re rejected, you’re in good company. One author we reviewed posted that he only received five reviews out of 144 submissions to book bloggers. Keep trying!”

We send out form rejections because it consumes less time, and when managing a slush pile, I like to take the easy route. Kind of like using MailChimp to send out a bunch of submissions to prospective reviewers.

I’m sorry if the rejection letter that was sent to you hurt your feelings. It wasn’t meant to do that. It was sent to provide closure. Some authors like to have that. Also, I’m sorry that you felt that rejecting your work meant that we thought it was crap. That was not the case. Yeah, the book cover on the site at the time was amateurish, but the writing was not. Judging books by covers…yeah, I know.

Anyway, I’m sure that you’ve moved on. I hope that this reply clears things up for you. I also hope that when you get rejected, you shrug and move on.

It just goes to show that you can't please everyone. Oh, and the book currently reviewed at the time was Embustero. I guess sci-fi isn't his thing.


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