You’ve sent your pitch, and now you wait for a response.
Wait, why isn’t my article being accepted with a parade or a cavalcade of merriment?
Here’s what we mean when we say, “Sorry, this one’s not for us.”
1. It was too long. We here at Ragan like our copy lean and tight as a drum. Unfortunately, many writers send us “Free Bird” when “Blackbird” would do.
If you conflate wordiness with substance—or if you think repetition is persuasive—we shan’t be working together anytime soon.
Editors differ in their willingness to wade through webby, flabby text. If you’re sending something to me, shoot for under 800 words. Better yet: Take what you were originally going to send, then cut it in half.
Brevity outweighs a multitude of other pitching sins.
2. You were promoting, selling or hiding something. You sneaky rascal!
Did you think we wouldn’t see those seven links to your “About Us” page? How about that entire paragraph extolling the virtues of your specific product or service? Does that ever work to pitch one idea and then send something entirely different?
Did you write this entire thing just for SEO purposes?
Take your keyword stuffing to someone else’s Thanksgiving dinner.
Look, it’s understandable that folks who own a podcasting business want to write about podcasting—just do so in a way that’s not overtly salesy or nakedly self-promotional.
3. The writing was beyond repair. Sometimes, the topic is spot-on, the word count’s fine, the pitching process is smooth—and the writing itself is a toxic dumpster fire.
To use another gross metaphor, we can resuscitate pieces that are seriously or even grievously wounded—if there is a spark of life or compelling insight somewhere within. When lifeless, bloated content corpses land on our doorstep, all we can do is attach a toe tag and move on.
If you make a good-faith effort to read our website to see what sorts of things we tend to publish, I’ll give more leeway, but we can expend only so much energy on text triage.
4. You were unwilling to take editorial direction. Our responsibility is to empower and educate our readers, not to protect the writer’s ego—“best-selling author” or not.
You might be a “noted thought leader” who’s not used to hearing anything other than “That’s genius, boss!” in your realm, but here, you must accept that your first draft needed an overhaul.
If you get defensive about significant edits—or if you’re unwilling to accept guidance or editorial direction—you can probably (definitely) look elsewhere.
2 Responses to “4 possible reasons why your article submission was rejected”
Thanks very much, Kathleen. Apologies for the gross metaphors.