But for every barb, there is a bouquet. And that came in the form of the absolute best rejection I've received to date. This is a true gem and it was almost better than getting accepted. Here it is:
Unfortunately, your submission, "Little Bone Joey" has not been accepted to be included in the anthology. I really would like to thank you, however, for your consideration to be a part of this project.
I appreciate the amount of time and work that you invested in this story and I am certain that you will be able to find a publisher for this elsewhere.
Technically you have written a nice story and I enjoyed reading it. Please know that I am not rejecting this work due to any flaw of your own ability.
Aaron, I hate to have to pass on this submission. Yours is one of those stories that, if I had more room in the book, would definitely be in. I liked this story a lot and it's been at the top of my consideration list since I received it. I particularly enjoy the uniqueness of your plot - it's thoughtful, intriguing, and told through a powerful voice in your character, Joey. You have a great talent for emotional and descriptive prose.
Unfortunately, I simply received a number of other stories which also held positive attributes of their own. Due to the sheer volume of submissions, I am only able to select a small amount which most closely matches the overall character of the anthology.
I received about 350 submissions for this anthology. The final Table of Contents, though not yet finished, will probably number about 26 - 29 stories.
I learned a new term that was shared with me in a rejection I recently received, and I think it's appropriate for me to share with you. For my anthology, I received an "embarrassment of riches." Meaning, I received SO many fantastic stories from SO many fantastic authors that it is truly embarrassing to have to tell most I cannot accept their writing for this book. This includes friends, peers, and authors such as yourself, whose strength of writing and accomplishments far surpass my own.
Keep writing - You have gained a fan in me, and I look forward to reading more material from you in the future.
Wow. A writer, by default, must have skin thick enough to absorb rejection. They cannot get discouraged. They must persevere if they are to have any measure of success. Reading such a note re-established my faith in the publishing industry. This is the anti-form rejection. It truly made my day. Thank you, dear editor. You rock. That felt like a daub of salve on this thick skin.