In recent weeks, the topic of rejected submissions has re-surfaced. After much soul-searching and consideration of the various ways in which the idea I have, might backfire, I find myself still standing firm.
As both a writer and tiny press publisher, I believe, just as the traditional methods of publication have been challenged in recent years, so too should the predisposition to submission rejection, as standard practice. To read statements by various publishers and literary agents, of late, that rejection builds character and forms and shapes better writing – while I don’t reject this thinking out of hand – I do believe that it has become ‘de rigueur’ to cast rejection as the indispensable fabric of the submission process; I regard this as both patronising and a tad absurd, especially at a time, when so much work optioned by mainstream publishing houses, is of work that originally found or finds its way into the world, by way of self publishing, in the first place.
I am all for contradiction and irony, still, I believe much of value is left unnecessarily, by the publishing wayside, with this increasingly, (in my view), archaic approach. This said, I do not believe, by any stretch of the imagination, that challenging the traditional idea of slush pile rejection, implies abandoning standard or quality, for whatever someone might deem as ‘good’ or competent’ and proves to be dismally bad writing. This has nothing to do with throwing the proverbial baby out with the bath water; quite the opposite.
The project I have in mind is experimental and reverts to innumerable historic examples of work, which, following seemingly endless rounds of rejections, have since become classics, if not even held to be the gold standard in literary invention and experimentation. My aim here is to showcase in one place, rather than below par writing, a curated online exhibition, in the form of an anthology of the qualitative work being currently submitted and which does not see the light of day. With this showcase, perhaps other editors and, at least, independent publishers and small presses, might revisit the submission constraints they self impose on their publications and writers, as a whole.
For the next twelve weeks, from December 1st – through to February 29th, at midnight CET ( Central European Time), I invite writers, poets, collaborators, short film makers, composers, lyricists, even photographers and artists, to submit their most recently submitted rejections.
I do not aim to undermine publications who follow strict style or thematic guidelines and express these clearly. There is enough room for differing approaches as well as for an experiment, such as this one.
At the end of the submission window, depending on the number of submissions and the variety of work sent to Literati Magazine, we will announce more about how this project will unfold throughout 2020.
Thank you for considering Literati Magazine.
We look forward to receiving your rejected darlings. Please indicate your submission is for the Rejection Anthology.