Have Courage

We have a hard internal rule to never tell any author when we reject their articles because there is almost always so much resentment.

When I break our internal rule and try to help an author out…

It’s almost predictable … as if some authors are looking to be rejected and when we do, we fulfill their need to be rejected. What gives with that?

While I’ll admit there is some subjective decision making when we accept or reject an article, the greater majority of decisions are based mechanically as to whether it meets our posted editorial guideliness or not.

It’s a darn shame that legitimate authors who don’t take rejection personally are denied knowing why we rejected their articles.

I can see why large companies prefer faceless private communication so that the stakeholders (in this case the authors) can dissasociate from the rejection and know without a doubt that it’s not personal.

Worse, it’s almost a guarantee that if we reject an article from a author who takes it personal (even though it’s usually not), we run the risk of creating an enemy that we didn’t ask for.

Personally, I’m burnt out on working with overly sensitive authors. :!) Maybe there is a full moon or some weird star alignment going on today.


Terry writes:

As an editor I can relate to your frustration with oversensitive authors. Every author thinks his or her article is the best ever written; every parent thinks his or her child is the smartest ever born. We know that’s not true! My kids are the smartest! (O.K…. only kidding!) We live in a “never crush a person’s spirit” society. Teachers can’t give failing grades, red ink causes emotional trauma, and overweight people no longer are overweight, they are under tall! It’s those people who never have learned to accept criticism who refuse to accept the constructive rejection of trained editors. Until a person can accept rejection, he or she has no business submitting an article! I’ve been rejected and each rejection has served as an educational opportunity. I need all the help I can get, so thanks for caring enough to give listening authors feedback and suggestions for improvement!

Comment provided April 20, 2005 at 7:56 AM


Seamus McGowan writes:

Oversensitive people, authors or otherwise, are more often than not overly self centered. If one were to be truely sensitive, their viewpoint would be outward rather than inward.

Empathy for others is a sign of sensitivity, as opposed to feeling sorry for oneself at the slightest rejection.

All forms of communication are an attempt to project what we believe to be our truth. The very nature of it is subjective, and hopefully the recipient will comprehend the meaning. Whether they agree with it or not is of little consequence to the bearer of that truth.

Often I have wondered why a teacher “gives” a poor grade and we must “earn” a good one. Have you ever heard someone say “She gave me an A”? No. You may have heard “I got an A” or “she gave me an F” but never the opposite.

Red ink on the other hand, is an intentional callout that serves no useful purpose except to the bearer of the pen. To provide constructive criticism is quite different from feeding one’s ego, as if it were their personal Ferrari racing across the page. The only practical purpose for a red pen is to create a scarlet letter.

That weird star was Mercury running retrograde, it should be back up to speed now for a while.


Comment provided April 21, 2005 at 2:26 PM


Lance Winslow writes:

Authors, many of them are creative people. Working with think tanks and creative people for a living, I came to this conclusion.

Brilliance comes with Baggage.

Just know this as fact and then listen to the opinions and perspectives, we can all learn a lot from each other. Many authors in the print media are taking Prozac, alcoholics, ensomniacs, politically motivated, etc. It is a known fact. The writing appears to be a great outlet. And this is what is going on. It is a good thing really, Chris, at least they are not out graffiting or shooting people. Thanks for understanding and taking some of the problems away from the rest of us. Better if they let lose frustrations on you and me?????

Comment provided April 28, 2005 at 9:11 PM


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