Good (Standard) Rejection from Harper's That Feels Special (even though it's Not)

Yesterday, I received the following rejection letter from Harper's Magazine in the mail + though it's their standard rejection letter, the fact that they typed my name up + signed the letter makes me special, even though I'm clearly not. Still, considering Harper's publishes one unsolicited short story a year, I knew my odds going in. On the other hand, I'll gladly be in the company of other rejected writers also sending Harper's Magazine material considered truly impressive and such good work. At least I'm in good company. See, I'm that kind of writer: Devoutly idealistic, ambitious, intrepid, unafraid to take a risk, delusional, the kind of writer that doesn't know how to take no for an answer. And someday, that's why I'm gonna publish my shit.


March 29, 2011

Dear Mr. Bliss,

Many thanks for sending your story to Harper's Magazine. I'm sorry to say that it's not quite right for us. Please do bear in mind that we publish only twelve stories each year, + receive hundreds of submissions, many of them truly impressive works of fiction, for those spots. Turning away so much good work is a frustrating task for any editor--it is, also, alas, unavoidable.

We wish you the best of luck in placing the story elsewhere, + thank you once again for thinking of us.

All best,

James Marcus
Deputy Editor

4 Things in the Writerly World I Have to Deal with, Now + Always

1. I got a great rejection from indiana review, but to be honest, it hurt so much i almost wish i hadn't received it. it said:

Jackson, we really seriously considered this piece, i admired the ambition, energy, scope--a fun read for sure. ultimately, however, we couldn't place it. please do try us again in the future. all best, megan savage, fiction editor.

I appreciate Megan taking the time to write that, that was supercool of her. but to know you were so close, and then not picked, i have to say, it hurts alot more in a way. for hours afterwards, i'd feel fine, and then i'd remember that rejection letter and get depressed. despite my modest publication history, i still haven't penetrated the elite paper literary journal market yet, and to be honest, i don't know why. it's just like in jack london's martin eden, the rejections feel as arbitrary as the acceptances. it doesn't matter that that taste corrupts technical estimation, i just think it's about time my stories starting hitting the airwaves so to speak. universe : i'm ready. me : are you?

2. Compare this to the one-size-fits-all rejection letter i got from harper's today, which was so impersonal it was funny, but hey, it didn't hurt at all. it was like being rejected by the wrong magazine, like being rejected by a spammer, like reading someone else's mail.

3.The date for my reading at Notre Dame is now officially 6 february. can't wait to hit the mic. wish i had the cajones to wear a leisure suit with rhinestones. But because I don't, here's my Arts Everywhere Blurb instead:

4. I'm halfway done with my master novel revision. it's taking longer than i anticipated.

I Hate Rejections!

Well, it's really my own fault. i submit like crazy and so of course i get rejected like crazy, but usually, i get a few rejections letters, oh, now and then, and then i have time to build up hope, and then another rejection letter, but who cares, it's just one little guy, and then i submit again, and then a few more rejections. but i guess this week is like the week of rejections! cuz i got four more rejections today, all of them online. that's almost 10 rejections in 72 hours. what's up with that?

this sucks.

recent rejections from:

1. the miranda literary review (but a good one: your lyrical essay was creative and really interesting yadda yadda).
2. 6 little things (a nice one: fantastic imagery)
3. vestal review (your shit's too tight for our crappy review--okay, they didn't write that, i'm just fantasizing, that's all).
4. brick Magazine. (again, a good rejection: we really enjoyed reading your essay, but we just don't feel like it fits with our mag yadda yadda).

i realize and acknowledge that these rejections were, for the most part, good rejections. but on somedays, LIKE TODAY, i don't want any goddamn moral victories. i want publications, i want bragging rights, i want a longer italicized scction of my cover letter, i want name recognition, i want journal respect, i want all those stupid things i despise in the male writer's ego and i'm not going to hate myself for it, that's just how i feel today. i've been reading these journals. and admittedly, the stories in them are really good, but my shit is just as good, sometimes i think it's better. i'm sorry if that's conceited, maybe i need this unjustified scrap of writerly delusion to keep writing, but i feel like it's true.

anyway, my strategy, as always, is to submit like crazy to more journals. it's redemption time baby. sure, i'll get more rejections, but as long as the bombers are in the air, i feel like i've got as good a chance as anyone. hit me up kid.

i'm submitting to:

9th letter
sentence journal
mid-american review (x 4 flash fiction--holla!)
hayden's ferry review
bellingham review
new orleans review
alaska quarterly (since they gave me a decent rejection)
bryant literary review
santa monica review

nothing would thrill and satisfy me more than to publish the very things william rejected, and prove my publishability. i'm using this as motivation. and nothing would heal my crappy mindset than to get my first big break from a kick-ass li journal. i just don't know how long it takes for emerging writers to do this without a literary agent.

god i'd love to know what's in lynn nesbit's mind these days. if you're good at channeling other people's thoughts lynn nesbit, you really want to make jackson bliss one of your clients, he's hella talented and his work ethic is fucking sick, AND he loves:

old people, animals, children, his mom, his brother, writers (who don't reject him literary journals), japanese food, traveling, kindness, hugs, making out, thai food, a mid-grip handshake, a soy chocolate banana shake, birds, moms who love their kidz, anime.

oh well, it's worth a shot.

anyway, i'll see some of you tonight at the sparks prize reading and valerie's par-TAY, by which time i should be feeling much much better.

peace, joy, health, love to youz,

we out,


Good Rejection from Harper's

I received a good rejection from Harper's today for my story Cowboys of My Heart: the 6-DVD Boxset. The form letter itself isn't anything big, but the handwritten P.S. makes me feel good about my life:


September 27, 2006

Dear Sir or Madam,

Your manuscript was given careful consideration my a member of our editorial staff, but we regret to say that Harper's Magazine is unable to use it.

There is no graceful was to return your manuscript with a form letter; we hope you understand that the great number of stories we receive makes it impossible for us to thank you personally for your submission.

We appreciate your submission, however, and hope you have success placing it elsewhere.


Some name I can't make out

Editorial Assistant

The story is very enjoyable. Good luck placing it in another publication.