Imaginary Rejection Letters

From this article in the Guardian Books Blog comes news of a soon-to-be-published collection of rejection letters—not the kind spurned lovers used to get, but the even sadder kind that authors receive from editors. As the article points out, rejections are no fun from either end; we’ve had to write plenty of those letters ourselves, and we always hate to be the bearer of bad tidings. At the same time, we sort of wish the power involved could somehow carry over into other areas of our lives. If only we could nip real problems in the bud with the stroke of a pen…

Dear Subway Jackass,

Thank you for submitting your proposal Step Into the Subway Ahead of Me and Stop Moving Immediately for consideration. While we very much appreciate your interest in adding a particularly excruciating moment to my already painful commute, we are returning your submission, as we are not accepting unsolicited cretinism at this time.

By way of friendly critique, we do want to tell you that your submission displayed some initial promise. Your idea for an opening—i.e., stepping promptly into the train instead of standing stock still in front of me on the platform—was by no means unreasonable. Rather, it was your proposal to stop short one millimeter inside the door, despite the ample passenger room available on the interior and the obstacle this action would pose to my own entrance, that made us question the acceptability of your submission and, indeed, your functionality as a member of a species whose evolutionary success derives largely from such social skills as reciprocal courtesy and awareness of other selves.

We hope you will understand that our rejection is in no way meant to disparage you, but is simply the necessary result of our deep and abiding loathing toward you and every member of your solipsistic ilk. Meanwhile, we wish you every success in falling into an open manhole. Best of luck!


Submissions Editor

Abbeville Press


Filed under Abbeville News, Books and Publishing

6 responses to “Imaginary Rejection Letters

  1. RG

    This is a good idea for a humor article. It’s something you might see at You should come up with three or four more and submit it.

  2. abbeville

    Thanks! We looked into this “McSweeney’s” and–why, you’re right, they do work in this sort of genre. Perhaps they should consider submitting to The Abbeville Manual of Style.

  3. RG

    Snarky is right.

  4. abbeville

    Touché! Now we must do penance by saying something snarkless: happy holidays and come back to comment often, we like your style.

  5. RG

    But the thing about snarkiness is, how do I know that your last remark wasn’t just sarcastic snarkiness?

  6. abbeville

    O ye of little faith! You won’t know…until you look deep in your heart and find certainty there. Along with the true meaning of Christmas.

    (Okay, THAT might have been sarcasm. But not the other thing.)

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