These days, I thankfully don’t get too many rejection letters. It’s much more likely that I am a fool and don’t submit to anthologies I’m either invited to submit to (two were prominent, well-paying ones that I kick myself for all the time) or know the editor would likely take my piece. But I did get a story rejected for Kristina Wright’s Fairy Tale Lust and for good reason – it wasn’t really a fairy tale and, frankly, wasn’t my best work. I’d have liked to come up with another piece but lately it’s like pulling teeth and it’s a miracle I even wrote a fairy tale-ish story for Alison Tyler’s fairy tale anthology Alison’s Wonderland. I'm much more of a kinky, real-life type writer (my Orgasmic story is called "Belted").
Anyway…I really liked Kristina’s post about why she rejected a lot of the stories that she did. Frankly, when I’m done with an anthology, I’m so freaking relieved to put it behind me and go to the next thing I don’t usually do a post-mortem. It’s awful to have to reject stories, even if they were never in the running. I despise that part of doing what I do but I do love getting to publish new writers. Reading the submissions for Orgasmic has been SO fun.
So, right, back to Kristina’s post. I identify with the part about stories being not even in the ballpark of what the book is looking for, though thankfully I don't get that as much anymore.
--Stories that weren’t fairy tales.
I took a looser interpretation of “fairy tale” than my publisher did, but there were still some stories that weren’t even in the ballpark. No matter how well-written and entertaining, f I couldn’t make some connection to the fairy tale genre, I had to reject it. If I had to guess, I’d say these were stories that had been written for other anthologies and recycled. It’s fine to “regift” a story, especially if it’s one you really love-- I’ve done it myself-- but it’s important to tweak that story to fit the guidelines. In a couple of cases, no manner of tweaking would have made these stories even vaguely fairy tale-like.
--Stories that weren’t women-centered.
There were a handful of stories that were clever and compelling but didn’t quite hit the mark when it came to being women-centered. Either the story was told entirely from the male protagonist’s viewpoint and we never got a sense of the female character(s) or the story was too focused on male sexuality to the exclusion of female pleasure. It’s interesting to note that not all of these male-driven stories were written by male authors.