Rejection ≠ Bad Writing

By Hannah Pruett

Getting a rejection letter can be discouraging, but this doesn’t automatically mean that you are a bad writer. At 30 North, we don’t read a piece and immediately decide that we don’t want it. We have many in depth conversations on whether or not a piece would be a good fit for our journal. It can be hard to say no to a talented writer, but there are other factors we must take into consideration.  

Here is a list of reasons why a piece may have been rejected: 

  1. The piece doesn’t have the right audience for 30 North. 

While we may have loved a piece, it might not have been the right fit for 30 North. When reading pieces, we consider our audience and if they would enjoy it. Writing is subjective, and not every reader will enjoy a piece. The genre or subject matter may only be enjoyable to a specific set of readers. In these cases, the piece would be better suited in another journal.  

  1. The piece is similar to a previously accepted piece 

At 30 North, we like to accept pieces that are doing different things. This doesn’t mean that your piece isn’t unique; we want to give every piece the credit and attention it deserves. We want the piece to stand out in the journal without being overshadowed by a similar piece.  

  1. Timing  

30 North is a student run publication with a small staff. This may not be the case for all journals, but we are working on tight deadlines, and unfortunately, we may have to reject a piece if it would require a lot of correspondence with the author. If a piece requires lengthy conversations about suggestions, questions, or edits, we cannot guarantee that everything will be completed in time. We want a piece to be published in its best state, and sometimes we just need more time.  

  1. The edits would not stay true to the author’s work 

Many of the pieces we reject fall into this category. We may love a piece and see its potential, but it’s not yet developed enough for publication. We want the piece to stay true to the author’s intentions and vision, and it’s difficult to suggest substantial changes without compromising that goal. 

Don’t feel discouraged after getting a rejection letter. There are a lot of factors impacting our decisions and we strive to make the best decision not only for our publication, but for the author as well. We would love to read more of your work in the future! 

-30 North Staff 


Author: 30 North

30 North is a national undergraduate literary journal. We accept submissions of previously unpublished poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction, as well as photos, digital art, drawings, and paintings. We also publish a variety of web content including interviews with authors and poets and reviews of contemporary literary works.

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