While I was on my safari in the Buffalo Central Library on the hunt for that Japan book, I found myself with plenty of time to look at the bulletin boards. It was then that I learned of the Buffalo News short fiction contest. They were looking for super-short stories set in Buffalo, so I re-tooled a piece I had (unsuccessfully) submitted to the Artvoice for their flash fiction purposes and sent it to the provided email address.
No response. Not a “thank you for submitting”, not a “we got yer thingy”, nothing.
The winners were posted recently, including some runners-up. Obviously there was some mistake. My piece is simply filled with quality. Sure, the Artvoice guy didn’t recognize it, but perhaps he has some kind of bias. (When I get my Nobel, he’ll rue the day he overlooked what was so clear to everyone else.) The News must not have received the complex gem of modern literature I offered them.
So, I emailed again today. A very polite and respectful note congratulating the winners and asking — just out of curiosity — for confirmation. Not confirmation for myself as a writer, of course (though an “oh, yours was simply magnificent but didn’t really meet requirement X, have you considered The Atlantic?” wasn’t outside of the realm of imaginable possibility) but simply confirmation that my opus had been received.
“Sorry, but we read 500 stories and can’t confirm receipt” came the reply. No lead-in, no “yours”, nothing but that sentence. And this not two hours after I sent my inquiry.
Now, I’ve received my share of rejection letters, and this one struck me as unusually rude. One might point out that if I had received a simple “thank you for your entry” I would not have been troubling them at this late date, or that a greeting and signature are normally considered the minimum acceptable etiquette, but these reminders would most certainly fall on ears deafened by the immense responsibility of being paid to read 250,000 words for the only paper in town.
So there you have it, Garvemus: a post on etiquette and protocol. Rejected-writer rage!!!