This morning before leaving for work, I checked my email as I usually do. Surprisingly/not surprisingly, there was an email from a publication regarding a story I recently submitted. I was happy! Specifically because it only took them five days to respond—that’s impressive!

Well, it was a rejection. No biggie, I’m so used to it that I don’t even flinch when someone tells me no. I mean, it’s not me or my writing, right? It’s the fact that they just don’t need it right now. Right? Right?

Right.

Anyway, I’m not trying to have a pity party for my rejection. I’m more upset at whom the email was addressed to.

Michale.

Not Michael. Michale.

I know, I know, it’s an easy mistake, especially when you’re typing fast. The peon that had the luxury of reading my story (or in this case, the cover letter and tossing it into the reject pile based on the unfamiliarity of my name alone) probably had a virtual stack of fifty stories he couldn’t care less about and wanted to get these emails sent out asap, the quicker the better.

Juxtaposing two letters in a name is not difficult. I’ve done it. You’ve done it. Everyone has. But for some reason, I can’t get it out of my mind that this guy simply did not care.

And that’s the problem. If these publications/editors/first readers would actually take the time to do their job and read these stories, all the while ignoring the cover letter and the name and everything else that is not specifically the story they are deciding whether or not to publish, maybe some yutz could remember to try, at least try, to spell my name correctly in the rush to get to a story written by someone they actually know.

Accidents happen. People make mistakes. Know what else they do? Pass over quality for a friend.

Food for thought, editors.

Addendum – I received another rejection this afternoon, long after writing this. They spelled my name correctly. Thank you!

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Often, critiquers will tell me any time they see an adverb, the word was, a passive sentence, telling instead of showing, etc., that editors will reject my story outright just for using that. While those things are “rules of writing” that, sure, make something flow and sound better, I got a shock to my brain today.
I opened up an issue of a big-time fiction magazine (found in print form on newsstands all over the country, possibly world), and noticed in a story a few things I never thought I’d see:
Passive voice!
Overt use of the word “was”!
Adverbs!
Telling!
So here I am, wondering how this story made it into a popular, big-time magazine like this, having broken those rules. I mean, didn’t an editor read it? How did it not get rejected right away?!
Does this mean that if I write a story that’s really good, even if I break those rules, I still have a chance of getting published?
Sorry if this seems like an angry rant (which is obviously is), but I’m so irritated at workshoppers who “guarantee” I’ll never have any chance of getting my stuff published if I break these rules. I know what Stephen King says. I know what pretentious grammar Nazis say. And you know what?
I really don’t give a shit.
I’ll write how I want, and take my chances when I do. So far, things are going fairly well. So go ahead, make your guarantees. I’ll enjoy reaping the fruits of my labor, while you sweat it out and worry about pointless shit that doesn’t mean a damn. (Not you, per se, but the hypothetical you that has pissed me off before.)