With submission for publication comes the possibility of rejection — and you learn to live with it.
Sometimes you get an explanation — “we wanted to balance the pre- and post twentieth century material” is one I recall from 1999 — and sometimes you don’t. You rewrite and submit elsewhere.
Take it on the chin.
Oddly — and this might sound like a brag — I’m been commissioned more than I’ve cold submitted. If someone asks me to write something, I will ponder whether I want to be in the venue, and more to the point work out if I’ve something to say.
I’m sufficiently instinctive that I often get this feeling that X and Y are connected — say that Mary Douglas’s Purity and Danger might be useful for thinking through The Sparrow. At that point, I hadn’t actually read Purity and Danger. It can be a high wire act — and it makes writing abstracts hard before there’s a chapter, although you don’t want to write something that’s going to be rejected.
So, there was a call for contributions, and I sat on it overnight, and applied the tests, and sent an abstract. Meanwhile, I was already thinking there would be other venues I could submit it to, but having written the damn thing.
Ten minutes ago I was rejected.
The editors were apologetic — lots of strong contributions — some hard decisions — consider the overall shape of the volume — it is with immense regret — and…
Well, whatever. That’s the job. You try not to publish rubbish, although that arguably rubs out most of my output…
“we want to persuade you to develop the proposed chapter into an academic article that will be well-suited to be submitted to any number of peer-review academic journals.”
I guess they were trying to be helpful. Maybe to soften the blow. Perhaps it was a standard rejection email sent to all.
I’m certainly acquainted with these peer-reviewed journals of what they speak. I even had a list in my head of who to try first, if it was rejected. I co-edit a peer-reviewed journal — but it would be Bad Form to submit there.
Somehow, I think a simple no thanks would not have left me feeling … a little patronised and certainly amused.