Notes from the giving end of the rejection letter

As my colleague Naomi K. Lewis and I read, re-read, and re-reread the submissions to our shyness anthology, it becomes apparent that some submissions are just not right for the book. When that happens, we must write a letter of rejection to the submitter. That is a tough job. As writers, we know what it feels like to get a rejection letter. It hurts. Sometimes as I write one of those letters I flash back to the last letter of rejection I received myself, or to one I received years ago. I suppose that over time, magazine editors and book publishers need to become somewhat inured to the feelings of the writers to whom they send rejection letters. But I am new to the game of rejecting, and for the moment, at least, I can’t send one of those wretched letters out without empathizing with the poor writer who is being told, “Sorry–not this time.”