Today was a roller coaster day in the world of my writing. I had a poem get picked up W5RAn, and got some good positive feedback. It’s always a good feeling when I write something, think it’s okay, then come back to it and think, “Man, that’s really good!” Dramatic distance really is a very difficult thing to achieve.

Then later in the day I heard back about a volunteer job I applied for. It was a slush reader position at a new online magazine for young adult science fiction/fantasy. I didn’t get the job.

I heard it about by chance, on Twitter, after I wrote a post about the latest piece I’ve been working on, which is kind of a magical realism, mock-sci-fi piece. I decided to follow the #sff tag I included and happened upon a tweet about the position. I followed the link and read up on what they were looking for.

  • Someone willing to volunteer
  • Someone willing to read 6-8 stories a week
  • Someone who could write concise reports about the stories

That was pretty much it. I was immediately interested, because it would be a great resume builder, and it’s always satisfying to support new literary ventures. I grabbed my Moleskine and thought of all the ways I would be perfect for the job. I love to read, I am very familiar with the submission process, I am willing to volunteer, I write concise reports for a living, I’ve judged lots and lots of writing contests, etc. I even threw in some zingers – said I’d be willing to represent the magazine at SXSW 11, talked about my bachelor’s degree in fiction writing, discussed my copy editing experience in college, blah blah blah.  Maybe I’m just an optimist, but I seriously thought I would be a shoe-in. The editor also followed me on Twitter the day after I applied, so I thought I had it in the bag. I was really looking forward to it –  a great resume builder and a good way to give back. Yeah, I’d probably have to read a lot of crap, but then I’d probably also get a taste for how people feel when they read my submissions and could improve accordingly.

So I was really disappointed when I got the all-too-familiar “not what we’re looking for at this time” email. Not even a “we were seriously interested in you” email. Just a standard old “dear author”.  I mean, I did see that they had a higher level of interest than they expected, but I didn’t anticipate that a world of skilled people just willing to give up some time would be applying.  It kind of makes me wonder what level of people were vying for this unpaid position. I’ve been pretty well desensitized to submission rejections, but this one hit me like a whack to the head. Okay, so sci-fi/fantasy isn’t my favorite genre ever, which I was up front about, but I enjoy writing of all kinds, even SFF. I figure they must have just had some really really impressive people apply, or this is a blatant case of Kellyism.