I made a promise to myself that, as an editor, I would always send a personalized rejection email to people informing them why they didn’t make it. Sometimes it’s quality. Sometimes it’s circumstances beyond their control. But I’d always tell them why so they wouldn’t make the same mistakes if at all possible.
At the moment, I’ve kept this promise. It’s painful for myself and the people who get rejected, but they have to know. I remember what the early parts were like, getting meaningless rejections. But I also know that as the number of submitters grows in future projects, I won’t be able to personalize every refused piece.
As it stands, this promise has been put to the test. Already, the number of rejections are starting to climb and more are surely on their way. I’m sure sooner or later there’s going to be someone who has got to fight me on the decision. Thankfully it hasn’t happened yet. Most of the people I’ve dealt with have handled their rejections with professional integrity.
The secret I’ve noticed is to always include a few good things to say about the work involved and try to be compassionate if honest. Point out what they’ve done well and where they need work. Tact takes energy and effort, but it sure beats making enemies.
Well, it’s not something I hope to get good at… but can’t hurt.