Puzzling response to submission
February 19, 2010 4:35 PM   Subscribe

Puzzling response to literary magazine submission ..

About 2 months ago, I submitted 3 poems to a magazine. This was my first submission of any kind. I followed all instructions (from the magazine and from industry) for proper submission. I included an SASE. The magazine said it takes 3-6 months to reply to submissions.

Today I received my SASE in the mail. However, the enveloped was sliced vertically with the left third lopped off, such that it was about postcard size with my name & address and postage still there. There was nothing in the envelope. If there was, it would have fallen out because the end was not taped or stapled closed. It doesn't look like this was damage by the USPO, but rather, it looks intentional.

I have been reading this magazine for several years, i think it has a fairly small circulation, about 20,000, and is always on the edge of survival.

I am puzzled. Is this simply acknowledgment of receipt of the submission? a low-budget rejection letter?
posted by allelopath to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I've received both rejection and acceptance letters over the years for my submissions, and they've never been sliced open with nothing inside. That is, frankly, bizarre. Even a copy-paste rejection will have a one-page letter that reads something like, "Dear Allelopath, thank you for the opportunity to read your poem "X Poem." Unfortunately..." Call their office and explain your situation. They'll have an answer for you.
posted by zoomorphic at 4:42 PM on February 19, 2010

Sounds like a Post Office foulup to me. Write them again and ask what the deal is.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:42 PM on February 19, 2010 [2 favorites]

That sounds like an accident. Unless they're super avant garde, I doubt they want to send ambiguous rejections to authors. The whole point of a rejection slip is to be absolutely clear so as to avoid getting into a dialogue with hundreds and hundreds of authors, a significant minority of whom will be batshitinsane. By the same token, if you're looking at someone's work or you really love it, you don't want them to think you've rejected it, in case they send it to another publication.

So yes, I would definitely go with 'damaged in the mail' or 'damaged at the magazine and accidentally posted'.
posted by RokkitNite at 4:43 PM on February 19, 2010 [2 favorites]

If it was damaged in the mail, there would be a stamp on it that said as much.
posted by the bricabrac man at 6:53 PM on February 19, 2010

TBM, if things were working correctly at the post office, it wouldn't have been damaged in the first place.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:11 PM on February 19, 2010

Are you sure your SASE wasn't in the envelope in such a way that when they sliced open the submission they also sliced your letter? Doesn't explain why they'd send it back but might explain its condition.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 8:04 PM on February 19, 2010

I vote they accidentally sliced your SASE when opening your original letter (as suggested above) and then put your acceptance/rejection letter in the envelope without noticing that it was damaged.
posted by serazin at 9:22 PM on February 19, 2010

So I want to contact them and ask about it.
Would they have any record of receiving and rejecting the submission?
(I guess they would remember those they accepted).

Should I send an email asking about it? or snail mail?
posted by allelopath at 9:45 AM on February 20, 2010

I would email them and attach a photo of the envelope you received.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 2:45 PM on February 20, 2010

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