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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. Author of FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND THE SECULAR STATE (2012), HUMANITY ENHANCED (2014), and THE MYSTERY OF MORAL AUTHORITY (2016).

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Here's a clue for writers

If you receive a rejection letter from a professional publication or an academic journal, or really any other reputable publication where the editors are likely to be busy people and are not your personal friends - and whether or not they have taken the trouble to send you more than a rejection slip - it's usually best not write back arguing that the wrong decision has been made. You're unlikely to get them to change their minds. Unless there are special circumstances of some sort, it only makes you look like a clueless amateur. Absent those special circumstances, doing this tends to make it less likely that you'll be taken seriously next time.

I do mean an outright rejection, not a revise and resubmit, where of course there are issues that might need clarification before you can revise, and so on.

Some people don't know this, so perhaps it's worth stating it in public now and then. It goes with "Use double spacing as the default unless otherwise requested" and "Don't send your manuscript on scented paper."

Just a word to the wise...

1 comment:

David Duffy said...

Curiously, we have done exactly that, and had a paper accepted. You just need to show that the reported reasons for the "reject" decision were inconsistent with stated beliefs or policies of the editors and journal.

It is true that it doesn't usually work...