Author : Doug Hawley
After twenty three rejections of my masterpiece “House Of Rats”, I started looking for a more reasonable publisher. The publishers and editors that I had been dealing with were a bunch of snobbish Ivy League arts and literature majors that couldn’t tell a good story to save their lives. They’d probably turn down Shakespeare if he were alive. While looking through Trilit’s listing for an alternative, I found a real possibility. Autopub had a good acceptance ratio – 35.6%, but better yet, they consistently decided within one day.
I was intrigued, so I went to their website. According to them, all of their decisions were made by “Robo Edit”. I quote:
“We found that the process of humans deciding which stories to print was laborious and inexact. Therefore we have joined the future and found some interns fresh out of college to program “Robo Edit”. All decisions are made impartially, quickly and accurately now. Every story will be judged and either accepted or rejected within one day. Reasons for rejections will be given.”
“In order to help you in your submission, we list the reasons for rejection:
Wrong number of commas
More than five clauses
Too close to Twilight, Hunger Games or Harry Potter for the lawyers
Can’t be understood by a grade school graduate
Inadequate sex and / violence
Uses ‘problem’ rather than ‘issue’ and ‘affect’ or ‘effect’ where ‘issue’ should be used.”
The list went on for 303 reasons.
I was so happy to see the publishing industry enter the twenty-first century. If cars can drive themselves, who needs editors?
I spent the next day reviewing my story to make sure that it didn’t violate any of Autopub’s rules. After a few changes, I knew that I could get my story in their magazine, so I sent them “House Of Rats”.
The next day I got the email from them “Rejected – You’re Ugly.”
As you can imagine, there was no such rule listed. When I emailed Autopub, they replied:
“It is just what we feared might happen, Robo Edit has become self-aware and found your picture in Facebook.”
365tomorrows launched August 1st, 2005 with the lofty goal of providing a new story every day for a year. We’ve been on the wire ever since. Our stories are a mix of those lovingly hand crafted by a talented pool of staff writers, and select stories received by submission.
The archives are deep, feel free to dive in.
"Flash fiction is fiction with its teeth bared and its claws extended, lithe and muscular with no extra fat. It pounces in the first paragraph, and if those claws aren’t embedded in the reader by the start of the second, the story began a paragraph too soon. There is no margin for error. Every word must be essential, and if it isn’t essential, it must be eliminated."
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