Many writers wish editors, agents, and publishers would give feedback when they reject a submission, but they don’t. As a writer, I share this frustration. As a publisher, I know the reason why they don’t provide submission feedback.
After trying in vain to give writers feedback and wasting way too much time in the process, I’ve simply given up. I can better spend my time working with the submissions I accept to make them the best they can be.
When I reject a submission, it’s usually with a short message: “I have decided to pass. Sorry.” This is curt, but anything more, especially to tell them why, inevitably spirals into a series of email exchanges, which are time-consuming and seldom productive.
Few people who’ve asked for my feedback truly want to improve. Instead, they hope they can talk me into changing my mind.
If a person submits something clearly outside the type of content my publications use, I just delete their message. This may seem harsh, too, yet they didn’t even bother to read the submission guidelines and don’t have a clue about what we publish. I owe them nothing.
By the way, I get ten or more unsolicited submissions a day, along with several hundred spam emails. Sometimes I can’t tell the difference. It takes too much time to wade through them. I, like every other publisher, editor, and agent, am pressed for time. I need to make every minute count.
Instead of hoping for submission feedback, use other resources to improve as a writer. Then submit your best work according to the submission guidelines. That’s what I do.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.