“Rejection letters are not merely denials. They actually constitute a complicated and delicate form of communication among two diverse, related communities. In general, both editors and writers operate with good faith, and each extends considerable trust to the other, especially when dealing with unsolicited manuscripts.”
–“Rejection Slips: A Balm for Writers and as Certain as Death,” by Gerald W. Haslam, originally published in 1986 and posted at his website
An entertaining essay: “No,” Brian Doyle, Kenyon Review, Spring 2008
A worthwhile pep-talk for women (and timid men): Kelli Russell Agodon’s “Submit Like a Man.”
A basic intro to how to interpret literary rejection letters you receive.
If you want to obsess about your rejections, or relish those that other people have received, here are some places you can do that:
– Other People’s Rejection Letters (Clarkson Potter, 2010) by Bill Shapiro
– The Reject-o-Matic is pretty fun.
– Some rejection letters that Very Famous Authors received for Very Famous Books, thanks to the Atlantic.
– And more VFM rejections, thanks to Mentalfloss.
– And just for fun, Rejection Letter Bingo.