If we reject your story, it isn’t because we don’t like you or because we’re racist, sexist, anti-religion, or whatever. Most likely the reasons we’ll reject your story are a combination of the following:
- Your submission doesn’t fit the theme.
Our second issue is a Steampunk issue. If you don’t submit a Steampunk story or poem, then we can’t be expected to accept it, now can we?
- Your submission is written poorly.
Broken English, bad sentences, too many spelling errors, and so on. This is just normal business, folks.
- Your submission is written well, but doesn’t quite snag us.
This is probably the most common one we send out. A submission may be quite good, but the ending isn’t right, or the story moves too slow, or something. Maybe the story is really great, but one thing throws it off (we’ll likely ask for a rewrite). The good news is this: if this is why your story got rejected, it means we’d like to see more from you. Good writers sometimes write stories that don’t work.
There are certainly other reasons for rejection, but they are too numerous and uncommon to list here.
I’m writing as a response to someone we rejected recently who seemed to imply that we didn’t want to print his/her story in the second issue of SBS because we are biased against Muslims. Considering that my co-editor is, in fact, a Muslim, and considering our track record for being rather inclusive in the first issue (roughly 50/50 on gender and we didn’t ask about race, but knew that a handful of people in that issue were of color based on information made available to us), this is a rather ridiculous statement. Coincidentally, this writer was rejected for a combination of the first two reasons above. It wasn’t a Steampunk story and the writing was quite poor (not to mention that the author submitted it in an inappropriate format).
But, I guess this is just normal business, right?