A Tough Job

As I have mentioned before, I am co-editing the Pluto edition of Superversive Press’ Planetary Anthology series. I just sent out an e-mail saying “how sorry I was that your submission did not make the final cut” to over a dozen authors.

In nearly every case, their story was great. Unfortunately, those 14 stories got beat out by


The Grim Editor Reaper. How I felt when I sent out the Rejection e-mails.

21 other stories that were just a little bit greater. I felt like an utter heel having delivered the bad news because I know exactly how I feel when I am on the receiving end of one of those rejection e-mails/letters.


I am confident that we have a great collection of stories for the book, due out later this year. But I wish we could have found a way to get all of them in. My approach has always been to encourage everyone to write and find a way to get their story published. So telling 14 folks “no” was no easy task for me. I cannot imagine how someone does this on a daily basis. So I guess we can scratch “Acquisitions Editor” off my list of potential jobs.

While you are waiting for Pluto to hit the bookshelves and Kindles, be sure to check out the three editions currently out:




Earth is due out in one month and will mark my first entry into the series “Extinction Point.” I have two other stories confirmed at this point, “Polar Shift” in Luna, and “Yes Neil D. Tyson, Pluto Is A Planet” in Pluto.

I have written and submitted four other stories: “At Homeworld’s End” for Sol; “Icarus Falls” for Jupiter; “The Last Human” for Uranus and “The 13th Medallion” for Neptune, and am awaiting a decision on all four.

I’m hoping I will get acceptance e-mails for them. But if I get a rejection for one or all I will certainly understand. Having just gone through the process myself, I don’t envy those four editors the task ahead.




  1. I can only speak for myself, but getting a polite and timely rejection is not a painful experience for me. It simply means that I move the story from my “out” folder to my “unsold” folder and look around for another market. I’ve had quite a number of stories rejected by one market and then sold them to another. (My story “The Happiest Place On Earth” in the Venus anthology, in fact, was originally written for a different project, which rejected it.)

    There are any number of reasons why any particular story doesn’t make the cut for a particular project. It doesn’t mean the story is bad or that I’m a bad person. I don’t take it personally to receive a rejection, it’s just part of the business.

    So don’t take it personally to send them out. It doesn’t mean you’re cruel or evil. Your duty is to make the project the best that you can, which means selecting those stories that best fit out of what you have available. Getting more good stories than you can use is a good thing. (Trust me, I’ve had projects that I’ve had to give up on because I never got enough quality submissions for them.)



  2. I understand your feelings – some people don’t take ANY kind of rejection well, and that would be the foremost concern for me if I were an Acquisitions Editor. Hopefully, those 14 authors will follow Mr. Bennett’s advice and work to find another market that will accept their stories.



  3. Speaking as one of those authors you wrote a rejection email to, don’t worry about it. I’m sure the decisions weren’t easy, but you had a limited number of slots and admittedly, my was probably longer than most. And it probably could have used a good going over before submission.

    Still, don’t worry about it. I’ll put it into my completed file and go back to it in a while and decide what to do with it then. Worse comes to worse, I could collect all my completed stories together and self-publish them in my own anthology.

    Back to writing!




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