I just started reading Scott Snyder’s “Voodoo Heart,” a wonderful collection of short stories originally published in venues like One-Story, Epoch, and Tin House, and published as a collection in 2006. There’s an interview with him over at Literary Rejections on Display, but I just wanted to excerpt this staggering anecdote:

I once sent a story out to a journal – I won’t say which one – and quickly got my SASE back in the mail with a form rejection inside. Which was fine, except that about two weeks later, I got another envelope in the mail, this time one the magazine’s own envelopes, with their own postage, my address hand-written on the cover. And inside was another form rejection for the same story. Which had me wondering, was the story that bad? You had to reject it twice? On your own dime? And then, about three weeks later, I got another letter from the same magazine, rejecting the story again! In one of their own envelopes, own postage, etc. So they actually paid to reject me twice more than necessary. They hated the story that much! Now fast forward to about six months later. I’m doing a small reading with some school friends. I have one friend who runs a small art gallery in Brooklyn (South First – it’s a great place) and she asked if some of us wanted to read there to promote an upcoming show that had a literary theme. I was thrilled to do it. I hadn’t really done many readings at all. So at the reading I read the story that had gotten rejected 3 times. And afterwards someone comes up to me who happens to be an editor at that same magazine that rejected the story so many times and asks if I’ll show it to them. A couple months later, a tuned up version of the story is published in that same magazine.

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