When you can't write - rant


It's a rare day when I can't write, but today is one such. I have a stinking cold, a temperature, no voice, a headache and my nose is running like a fountain.

This wasn't a good day for me to get a rejection from Indiana Review. Not that I'm objecting to the rejection per se. But I do object, very strongly, to waiting eighteen months for a form rejection. Even more, I object to the suggestion, included along with the rejection, that I should subscribe to their journal.

Journals get many, many submissions - most of which they cannot accept. Dealing with them is always a problem. But because I'm in a bad mood let's take this story apart a little.

1. I sent my submission by airmail on 4 January 2005.

2. I received my rejection by airmail on 5 June 2006.

3. Indiana Review is published twice a year.

4. I contacted them on 15 November 2005, withdrawing the story.


This means that in the eighteen months they've had my submission, envelope and International Reply Coupon, they've put out two issues. At what point, I wonder, did somebody actually read my work? Given that they must have read for two issues, I would assume something over a year ago. And I'd even been in touch with them to say the story was no longer available.

So why did it take them so long to stuff two pieces of preprinted paper in an envelope I'd provided, with postage I'd provided, and return it to me?

I subscribe to lots of journals. I give subscriptions as presents (which is tough on friends who aren't great readers!) and I spend a lot of time explaining to writers why editors have a tough job and should be respected.

But if Indiana Review think an eighteen month wait for a form rejection is likely to get me to hand over my hard-earned writing income on a subscription to their journal, they should think again. I feel devalued as a writer and insulted as a reader if this is a process they think normal enough not to apologise for. My money will be going to journals who treat their writers will a little more respect.