I am, in fact, a bottom-level slush reader, which means I get my share of what comes in over the transom, unfiltered and uncensored.
When I reject something, I try to explain why. Even if it is rejected in the first couple of paragraphs, it's generally because I know what the problem is, and I know why we won't be buying the story. The urge behind this, believe it or not, is charitable. One does not learn in the absence of feedback.
The professional thing to do when one is confronted with a rejection is to read it, shrug, internalize any useful comments, ignore any crazy talk, and go write another story.
The unprofessional thing to do is this:
>Dear [Author Name Redacted];
Thank you for sending us "[Redacted]," but I'm afraid this
isn't quite right for Ideomancer. I needed something more to draw me
into the story than exposition, no matter how clever the world you
created was, and I found this story lacked conflict and a stake for
First of all, if you're going to argue with a rejection, don't.
Second, if you are going to argue with a rejection, don't.
Third? If you are going to argue with a rejection, make sure you are arguing with what the rejection actually said, and not your projections thereunto. Also, don't put scare quotes around words that don't exist in the note you are ostensibly quoting.
Fourth, editors talk to each other.
Fifth, yes, I will tell John who can't remember the name of the magazine he works for, and who doesn't approve of his grammar.
Sixth, Ideomancer has a database in which we enter the name and author of every story, its disposition, etc. It has a comments field.
What do you all suppose the comment field of this author's story now says?*
(The UnSub's letter reproduced above for teaching/demonstration and educational purposes.)