By Nichole Giles
In the business of writing, occasional rejection is inevitable. Editors will send your brilliant work back to you, sometimes with comments, sometimes with nothing more than a post-it saying, “No thank you.”
I have received a lot of rejections in my time as a writer. And I admit, some have hurt worse than others. The one I got today hurt. Do you want to know why?
Because rather than telling me my writing wasn’t good, or not age appropriate, or even that it didn’t fit the magazine’s current needs, they told me my bibliography was weak.
Now, under some circumstances, I can understand that. I’ve actually had a comment similar to that on a different article (but curiously from the same magazine). But this one bothered me a great deal because my sources are not only many, but they are solid.
The article was about George Washington. Not only did I read at least 6 adult and children’s books about the subject, but I also confirmed all my facts through the George Washington papers in the Library of Congress. I also confirmed with another source—the original Maryland Gazette—which printed GW’s report on the particular mission I wrote about.
So, because my current research methods are apparently not good enough, and the Library of Congress is not considered “up to date”, I have decided to build a time machine. I will invest years and years of my time, and more money than I will ever have in this life, or the future lives of all my children and grandchildren, in order to build this machine. Once it is up and running, I will go back in time to the year 1754, where I will find a 21-year-old militia commander just returned from his very first spy mission. I will ask him, “Mr. Washington, would you mind taking a few minutes of your precious time to tell me exactly how you found your way into the espionage business?”
Then, I will pray that he will actually take a few minutes to answer my questions, because if he doesn’t, my article will never be published. Well, at least not by that magazine.
Someone else suggested I find an angel channeling specialist and hold a séance to call up the spirit of good old George so that he may clarify the facts for me. But, I’m thinking the magazine might frown on that source as well.
It’s a good thing I have a really thick book of other magazines to which I can submit my work. Otherwise, I’d have to dedicate my life to finding bibliography sources for an 800 word article that might eventually make me somewhere around $200.
On the bright side, I haven’t actually received any magazine contracts this year, so I should have one in the mail anytime…right?