Thursday, 12 July 2012

The Lazy Fucking Youth of Today

1. I really enjoyed your submission and would like to know what your ethnicity is, Sable Lit is a space for writers of colour, so that was part of the criteria when accepting submissions.

2. I’m afraid the PPM has been offered to, and accepted by, another student. I’m not authorised to release this information unless the other applicants actually ask me, otherwise I would have written before now. We did, in fact, put your application forward for another college-wide scholarship which was suddenly announced, but I’m afraid that was unsuccessful too – there are too many students chasing too few funding awards!

3. Sorry we have already filled this vacancy and have long since withdrawn the advert.

4. Thanks again for sending your work, but it is not a right fit for us. Best of luck placing this elsewhere,

Editors, Mud Luscious Press

5. Thank you for your email. We were fortunate enough to receive applications that more closely matched the person specification than yours and I am sorry that you were not shortlisted for an interview on this occasion.

6. Thank you for letting me have a look at your work. While I don't think this one is right for Metazen, I wish you much success in placing it elsewhere.

7. We appreciate your interest in the Bookseller and the position of News Reporter/ Junior Sub Editor for which you applied. After reviewing the applications received by the deadline, yours was not selected for further consideration.

8. Thank you for your application for the Santander Scholarship.

The selection panel has now considered the applications submitted for this award.

There was strong competition and I am sorry to inform you that unfortunately you have not been successful on this occasion.

I hope that you will be successful in finding alternative funding to enable you to pursue a Masters programme at Oxford Brookes.

9. Thank you for your interest in and recent application for the position of Saturday Assistant. After careful consideration, it has been decided not to shortlist you on this occasion for the final selection process.

10. Thank you for your application – I’m sorry you were not short listed for interview. It was simply the case that we had an exceptionally high calibre of applications from candidates with direct, extensive Back of House / Stage Door experience

11. This is very well-written but the piece is not for us.

12. Thank you for coming to the interview yesterday. Both Diana and I very much enjoyed meeting you, and felt strongly that you were a good writer and would be an asset to the course. However, the bursary has been awarded to someone of greater experience

13. Many thanks for your application for the post of Saturday Library Assistant. After careful consideration I am sorry to advise you that we will not be progressing with your application.

14. Thank you for your time and for the opportunity to read your work, but this submission is not right for PANK at this time.
We respectfully ask that you wait at least one month before submitting more work for consideration.

15. Thanks for your email. We're not looking for specific volunteers at the moment, but we do regularly post out details via our e-list

16. So, we're sorry to have to break it to you but ... another bid for Job #85808 - creative content writer has been accepted.

17. Thank you for taking the time to submit your work to Spilling Ink Review. Although we are unable to provide a home for “Flies” we wish you much success in placing your work elsewhere.

18. I can confirm that we received a very high number of applicants –over 180 application forms- for a limited number of posts. The 1st stage of our selection process is based on the strength of the applicants’ experience and in your instance; unfortunately, your experience was not as strong as those invited to the interview stage.

19. Your application for the position of Graduate Web Content Writer / Online Copywriter (399192/3015767) has not been successful.

20. I’m afraid that we don’t have any vacancies at the moment.
Thanks for your interest.

21. Many thanks for your application for the post of Library Assistant. After careful consideration I am sorry to advise you that we will not be progressing with your application.

22. The Graduate School at the College of Arts and Humanities would like to thank for your recent application to the above competition. I regret to say that on this occasion your application has not been successful.
However, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your interest and to wish you every success in your future career.

23. Many thanks for your application for the post of Library Assistant. After careful consideration I am sorry to advise you that we will not be progressing with your application.

24. So, we're sorry to have to break it to you but ... another bid for Job #87971 - Music Festivals Writer Wanted to Work on Forum Website has been accepted.

25.Thanks for this! But to be honest no I still don't think it quite works. There is still the issue of a male voice, but more than that I think it's more of a perspective problem than a dialogue problem (for us that is). It's like a split screen in a film, only there's no way to do that with one voice. But if you have anything else I'd love to take a look.

26. Thanks for this story.  It's great flash fiction.  I like it a lot.  The only thing is I don't think it is going to work out loud in one voice - because of the shifting perspective and two distinct voices.  It's tricky.  If you have anything else you think might suit - please do send it along.

27. Thank you for your submission to Every Day Fiction. I regret to inform you that we are unable to use it at this time. 

Angela's character has great potential to base a story on and the moving flies reminding Drew of her wobbling flesh made sense, but there the melding of ideas ceases. There is a hint that Angela may be about to ditch Drew and take charge of her life which fizzles when she offers to bring him supper. There is a hint that Drew is thinking of ditching Angela, but then the storyline moves again to focus on Mitch and his lonely death. The three parts are not joined into a full story yet and it is not clear what the author intended the whole to be about.
-- rose gardener

I like how each end of the phone conversation is in its own little world. As Rose mentions, that builds an underlying tension as the reader wonders if these two are about to break up, about to argue, or what. The last story about Mitch is suitably creepy, but I found it didn't really sync with the rest of the piece, and with Angela hanging up, the tension that had been set up in the conversation was gone. I was also a little confused by: "Angela offered him mushy peas and he felt nausea rock his stomach." That sounds like she is suddenly right there with him, offering him a spoonful of peas. If she isn't, if it is just a verbal offer to go along with the fish-and-chips, who would ever get mushy peas as part of take-out and consider it a suitable food to bring someone? It just felt like an odd thing to say, an odd shift in tone.
-- Joseph Kaufman

Unfortunately due to the insanely massive amounts of submissions in our slush pile, we cannot reconsider your piece at this time.
We wish you good luck in placing the story elsewhere

28. Thank you for your email. You are of course welcome to take what you will from our team’s feedback and disregard the rest – the idea of including editorial comments with our response is only to give you an idea of what worked for us and what didn’t, if only to help with your future decisions as to what pieces you might or might not send to us or send elsewhere. Every publication naturally has a slightly different set of needs to suit its readership and editorial opinions; we don’t feel that our comments necessarily reflect the whole world’s view.

One of our concerns as a publication is that our readership is quite literally global – we have readers in Brazil, India, Belgium, and Finland, among other places – so we have to guard against assumptions that might be common in one country but unknown in another. I’m sure that any publication specifically for UK authors wouldn’t blink at mushy peas, but our authors need to be aware that regional foods, like regional dialects and customs, need a bit of context to work for international readers. We have a forum thread on regional differences in language and usage ( and I expect that some of the same issues discussed there would apply to other regional issues. In the case of your story, Joseph’s comment simply highlights the fact that a fair number of our readers will never have heard of mushy peas, so if you’re writing for an international readership, it’s worth thinking about how your story comes across to someone unfamiliar with UK chip shops and their traditional dishes.

Finally, congratulations on having your story published elsewhere, but you should be aware that you accepted a contract with us on submission which makes simultaneous submissions inappropriate. Obviously that contract is void on rejection, but if we had accepted the story, it would have created an awkward contractual problem for you. I do hope you’ll send us more of your work in the future, but please read and respect our submission guidelines.

29.There wasn't room for your story this month, but I did enjoy it.

30. i am very sorry that we do not have any jobs as we are just a group of volunteers

31. Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:

32.  Yes sure: first of all it was difficult as I left a few messages for you and didn’t hear back to talk briefly before potentially putting you forward.  It was essential for me to speak to you so I’m afraid not being contactable did impact on your application.  It was also unclear whether you were wanting to pursue a career in PR or writing, and there was the fact that you are still undertaking your MA.

I’m sure you’ll do really well and do keep in touch once you graduate – best wishes J

33. Thank you for taking the time to apply for the Fugu PR: Intern/Trainee PR Account Executive role and apologies for the delay in coming back to you.

We have found the calibre of applicants to be excellent and have therefore appointed the successful candidate.  I am sorry that it was not you on this occasion but wish you well in securing an alternative post.

34. Thank you very much for getting in touch. I'm afraid our internship is on hold at the moment, as we have decided to take on a design intern rather than offering the editorial internship (we are a tiny company so there isn't space for more than one extra person!). I hope we'll be able to offer the internship later in the summer, so I'll make sure I email you as soon as I know that a vacancy is coming up.

35. Thank you for sending us "The Wallpaper". Apologies for the delay in our response. We appreciate the chance to read your work but, unfortunately, the piece is not for us. 

36. Thank you for your application and for your interest in Myriad. We have received a tremendous number of applications and, although you were a strong contender for the internship, there were other applicants who have more relevant experience and who -- on this occasion -- we feel would be better suited to the role. 

I'm sorry to write with disappointing news and I'll certainly file your application in case an opportunity arises later this year. Meanwhile, thank you for taking the time to apply for the internship. And good luck with your job search.

37. hi alice,

thank you so much for your email

unfortunately, your submission doesn't fit with our next issue

(please see attached image)

but feel free to send us something else in the future !
i especially liked the first story

thanks again & have a good day

< 3 lk

38. Although you are clearly a very talented writer, we will not be moving forward with your application on this occasion. 

Thank you very much for taking the time to apply. Wishing you all the best. 

39. I'm afraid we'd only be reviewing copies directly from publishers on the fiction section.

40. Thank you for your recent application for a job vacancy at Mooncup Ltd. Unfortunately you have not been selected for interview on this occasion. We wish you good luck in finding suitable employment elsewhere.

41. Thanks for sending a sample of your work. On reflection, I'm afraid it's not quite what we're after for this event. But thank you for contacting us about your work. Good luck with the novel for next year.

42. Generally you gave a very good interview and the reason you didn't get it is because there was someone else with greater experience, some excellent publications and so on. And so it wasn't really anything you did in the interview. However, I've had a think about it and here are some areas you could maybe sharpen bearing in mind that all course convenors probably have their own particular views.

1. Check out the website more carefully perhaps - and show the interviewers you have researched the course closely. Maybe ask them a very particular question about this to show you have done your research.

2. I wouldn't personally say either in applications or at interviews 'I want to gain distinctions'. I think it is better to make a statement about how you want to write work of real quality, perhaps give an example of how you would like to push your own boundaries- I suppose it amounts to the same thing but the 'distinction statement' makes you sound a bit 'course bound' and less like an independent writer with their own artistic agenda.

3. Presentation - one of the scripts you sent seemed to be presented as an A5 booklet (unless that was someone here photocopying it in a certain way). I would stick to A4 one side of the paper only, at least 1.5 line spaced. That's only cosmetic and you were shortlisted anyway,but I guess it's best to look as professional as possible.

4. You gave a good account of why you liked reading Richard Yates but could maybe make some more specific statements about a wider variety of writers - your answer was very good - but I'm just thinking about what could help you further.

5. Workshopping - when I probed, you gave a good answer but to begin with you sounded a bit like someone who might 'write by committee'. We got somewhere interesting but I suppose if you thought more deeply about workshopping and its processes, about redrafting through intensity and subtext etc as well as through the group logic of the workshop, you could give a richer answer.

6. Maybe generally have a think about intuitive writing, logical writing, writerly processes - or read around and maybe have one or two quotations up your sleeve.

Hope that helps and good luck with your future interviews and writing.

By the way, when you went out I thought you'd given an excellent interview and still do. I'm only bringing up the above points to help you push it further for other interviews.

43. Thank you for sending us Doctor Sharpe which we read with interest. Unfortunately, we decided it is not quite right for Ambit. 

We are unable to give individual feedback due to the large quantity of material we are sent. In fact, we are only able to accept about 3% of the work we receive, but thank you for thinking of Ambit. 

In October 2013 we changed our editorial board and if you haven't seen a recent Ambit we suggest you purchase one or ask your local library to order one. That way you can familiarise yourself with what we are currently publishing. 

44. Thank you so much for expressing an interest in the job of course administrator, although unfortunately on this occasion you were unsuccessful.

We have had an overwhelming response to the job advert, with the standard of applicants being extremely high, and as such despite the fact that you clearly have good skills and experience, there were others who had even stronger applications on this occasion.

45. Dear Mary-Jane

Thank you for your emailing me across some examples of your work.

We have had the opportunity to review your CV and regret to inform you that we have chosen to pursue other candidates whose skills, background and education more closely match our needs.

Groupon Ltd

Dear Groupon Ltd,

My name is not Mary-Jane.

45. Hi Alice,
It's Lisa from here. I'd like to check that Dr Shah & Partners has been in touch with you since you contacted them on Tuesday 02 Aug. By telling us about the clinic's customer service you help other patients make a better informed choice.

I have not been contacted by Dr Shah & Partners


  1. This beggars belief: how horrid for you.

  2. Thank you for your sympathy Auberon. If I kill myself you can tell my story. x

  3. Isn't the almost-transparent dishonesty especially galling: where they pretend to be supportive and encouraging but in actual fact just want you to go away?? Vermin.

    A role as Ophelia would ill-befit you. Are you still writing?