It's not often that rejection letters make me angry; I tend to be sad, defeated, but never so full of rage that I have to write about it. Well, that's changed today.
I'd like to preface this by saying that I never insist on getting paid for my writing. I'm not Stephen King, or John Grisham. It's presumptuous to believe you deserve payment when you only just start submitting your work. Granted, it's lovely to be compensated, but to feel it's owed to you is definitely not how one should step into the blog industry. There are a lot of legit start up companies (and established companies) that's only compensation is exposure- and that works for me.
I can't be bothered with filling out several W-9 tax forms for a few dollars here, or a few dollars there. I'm not rich, by any means; I live to paycheck to paycheck just like most of the country, but I'm not an organized person. I don't want to mess with paperwork and contracts and tax forms for $10; it's just not worth it for me. Having a byline and having an audience is my main goal and I'm happy with that. Which brings me to today: I pitched an idea to an outlet I won't name. In my pitch, I explained that I am not looking to make money and that I just want to write. Here are pieces of the email rejection I received with a breakdown on what I would have responded with had I thought he deserved one:
"I don't know who you are or how you got this email address." Let's be clear: I'm not a stalker. I found his email address on the COMPANY website under CONTACT me.
"...I am going to tell you something you won't like, but need to hear," Who do you think you are that you know what I NEED to hear? I pitched a magazine and you're an associate editor- not Christ.
"...you are willing to work for free...That is so wrong it makes me furious." If your magazine had a decent pay rate, then I'd absolutely LOVE to get paid, but again- I'm not going to go through the hassle for a measly few bucks. I admire those that do, because those few bucks eventually add up to something, but I'm not that person.
"This is what I've done my entire life and yet it's people like you and awful sites like (redacted) which feeds off free writing like a giant parasite." People like me? You mean writers who are willing to write for up and coming start-ups to help them widen their audience base? Yes, that's me. If I'm awful for it, then so be it. But who are YOU to judge me?
Now this is what really put the ants in my pants:
"How dare you?" How dare me? Seriously, there are murderers out there walking around, unpunished, but I'm the terrible one.
This is not an emotional response to a rejection letter. I am angry, but this isn't some immature way of getting back to this person. I'm confident he doesn't follow my writing and that if he did, he probably won't anymore.
I'm writing this for those out there who get unprofessional responses back. In most cases, it's not YOU, it's THEM. A year ago, a letter like this would have sent me down a dark path and it would have made me quit writing. However, now all I want to do is write more and more for these so-called "awful, parasitic" websites.
If you are a new writer, do not let people like this guy above EVER diminish the star in you. I'm certainly not letting him stop me.
To quote Destiny's Child: "I'm a survivor, I'm not gon' give up, I'm not gon' stop, I'm gon' work harder!"
To the man who wrote the rejection letter, I must thank you- you have flamed my passion even more so and I will do what I have to do on my own terms, not yours. I do wonder, however, whether or not he would have been as harsh to a male writer but I'll never know. I can only make assumptions.
May the odds be ever in your favor.