My past continues to haunt me: in today’s Financial Times, Lucy Kellaway denounced my attempt to write a decent rejection note:
“…Howard Junker, the founder of literary magazine ZYZZYVA used to return short stories with a covering letter that began: “Gentle writer, Please forgive me for returning your work and not offering comments. I would like to think of something to make up for my ungraciousness, but I don’t think a few quick remarks would really help.” He signed off with a handwritten, ‘Onward! J’
“How charming, I thought when I first heard of this. But then I read a blog from a not-so-gentle writer who had received the very same letter on many occasions and found it anything but charming. The point is that no standardised letter can ever soften any blow. Rejection is rejection and it hurts.”
Please note: I did not scribble “J,” but “H.”
And my note included a lot more stuff, including words of compassion and encouragement.
Might I add that no standardised [sic] letter was ever enough to deter certain determined, but untalented writers from submitting again and again.