Wednesday, February 10, 2010

in which INTERN is going to hell

This morning, INTERN had to write a curtly-worded rejection of a submission by an author whose work she studied in university while Assistant Ed stood over her shoulder, monitoring to make sure INTERN's rejection didn't come across "too encouraging."

The psychic wound will never heal.

In better news, INTERN had the chance to chat with the doorman of Venny McPulitzer's building today and discovered that not only is he a friendly and charismatic doorman, he is also secretly some kind of reggaeton star. So INTERN's feeling yesterday of being surrounded by fabulous hidden artists was re-confirmed in a most marvelous way.

Back to feelings of extreme guilt and horror!


  1. If it makes you feel any better, I don't mind the curt rejection letters. In fact, I felt rather betrayed by a nice encouraging letter from one agency that made it sound like they loved my writing... and then I checked my submissions spreadsheet and realized they'd only gotten a query and that all that encouragement was merely a fulsome form letter. I like to be able to truly distinguish from the places that liked me and the places that never want to hear from me again. Don't say "keep writing and submitting" if they mean "...but not to us."

    Or, you could send a follow-up note of love now that you have studied-author-in-university's address.

  2. Ouch. And what CKHB said. Much better to know what you're dealing with and what your options are. Cruel to be kind, in the right measure!

  3. I am sad for you. *tear*

    Actually, I find that invigorating. Kind of like, "What, accomplished authors are getting rejection letters? Oh, hell, yes! I will kick the living crap out of Mr. Accomplished Author with my MS. Yes, yes I will!"

    I'm ornery like that. I'd say sorry, but I wouldn't mean it.

  4. :-( That's hard!!

    And ps don't believe Simon for a minute.

  5. Writing rejection letters is harder than it sounds. I'd be curious to know what kind of things you had to put in the letter (if you're able to share that info somehow).

  6. Sorry to hear that. Our bosses do make us do rubbish things sometimes - hope you are feeling better. I am sure writing rejection letters must be really hard.

    Kate xx

  7. As CKHB said, you can always send the guy a fan note. Tell him how you enjoyed his books at college and that someone even just brought up his name at work.

    In fact, I can just see him reading it and thinking, "She’s right. That idiot who rejected my book doesn't know what she's talking about."

  8. So fun and so surreal over here...

  9. Is writing the rejection letter part of the training on the way to becoming an editor? It probably should be. Cheer up. We've nominated you for a Sunshine Award over at Slushbusters!

  10. I've never understood why - if a supervisor has time to stand and watch over the underling's shoulder while they're doing something - how the same supervisor can claim with a straight face that they're too busy to do the same something him/herself.

    Wouldn't it just be easier to tack up a sign that says "I am a coward, you are my fall guy. You will do what I tell you to - to the letter - then if people get mad, I can show them it's in your handwriting and feign innocence."

  11. Is rejecting a revered literary idol-hero like the practice of journalists' busywork writing and updating obituaries for still living celebrities?

  12. I'm just glad Laurel made the requisite Nick Lowe quote. That's all that's needed here.

  13. That must have been bizarre and icky :(. I hope your phychic wound is healing up! If not, please take two shots of whiskey, and call me in the morning.

  14. Per CKHB (Or, you could send a follow-up note of love now that you have studied-author-in-university's address.) -- I think a cute Smurf-themed valentine is in order.

  15. Your job sounds impossibly glamorous - I am considerably envious.

  16. maine characters:

    That sounds like the setup for the next 'Dear John.'

    Deep in the trenches of publishing ...

  17. Sweet INTERN, fear not, you wont be going to Hell. The ASS Ed will have that honor.
    (though, perhaps the recent submission by said author really wasn't good, in which case, the ass ed was doing the right thing...except for the over the shoulder bit.)

    (But if perchance you end up in Hell for later offenses, I'll be the one behind the flaming bar, making margaritas.)

    Yeah, Rasta Doorman!!
    Let the psychic healing begin.


  18. That sounds like the setup for the next ‘Dear John.’

    You're right. Or even better, Nora Ephron could turn this into another Tom Hanks / Meg Ryan / I Can’t Tell Them Who I Really Am romance:

    The intern writes the fan letter, the writer responds, they strike up a friendship, the writer struggles to get his book accepted, the intern (alternate reality non-Techie-boyfriend version) helps him with his queries, romance blossoms, and it all culminates in the grand unveiling when the cruel Assistant Editor Bound for Hell spills the beans.

    “How can I believe anything you say?" asks the writer. "I thought you liked my work! And yet... you rejected me!”

    Touches his arm. Soft music swells. “I’m not rejecting you now.”

    “So… I should send you a proposal?”

    At which all the editors, agents, assistants, and writers in the audience will throw their shoes at the screen.

  19. Why assume that the writer in question is male? (Admittedly it doesn't say 'authoress', but 'author' was not gender-specific the last time I checked.)

  20. *wince* That would suck to have to write a letter. your job sounds hard but it will all be worth it in the end! (right?...right!) Oh and maine character, I would totally go see that movie! haha. I love discovering underground artists so that's cool.

  21. Jonathan - you're absolutely right. When I read the post, I'd just looked up one of my old writing professors on the web, to see what he'd been up to the last ten years, and so that's the image I had in my head when Intern mentioned a writer from her college days. Thanks for taking off the blinders. (This also makes the movie much more interesting.)

  22. As the publishing industry shrinks, as established writers of non-blockbusters get pushed off the midlist, this is only going to keep happening more and more.

    Keep clinging to the old model, where the gatekeepers are only looking for the next big thing and not the next good thing, and watch the publishing industry go up in flames.

    I'm bringing the marshmallows.

    Viva la revolucion digitario!