It is quite the arduous journey, pursuing publishing as a poet of any stripe, much less one committed to mostly traditional forms. My experience with submission rejection, vanity presses, and outright shakedown scams are numerous, as you can read about here, and I imagine most writers are quite familiar with the first if not all of these.
Against My Better Judgment
So it was mostly on me, and against my better judgment, that around 2 1/2 years ago I paid a submission fee and sent some poems off to Typishly to be considered for publication. I say “against my better judgment,” because I don’t usually pay submission fees. I now avoid vanity publishing like the plague, but with the rising popularity of reading and submission fees, you can never be sure if your writing was accepted on merits or because you paid the fee. I want to know that when my writing is accepted for publication, it is because it was deemed worthy to be there.
Form Rejection in Less Than 12 Hours
That being said, I submitted my poems and $4.77 at 7:14pm on a Thursday. On Friday morning at 7:45am, I received the following form rejection email:
Thank you for sending your poetry to us. Regretfully, we won’t be able to publish your work this time. Only a fraction of the poetry we receive is selected, so even strong writing must sometimes be left out.
We’re grateful you chose to share your creativity with Typishly.
Be well. Be creative.
Please understand I do not have a problem with rejection letters. Almost anyone who has been writing and seeking publication long enough has seen far more rejections than acceptance letters, and I have no different expectations. Duotrope reports that only 2.49% of submissions to Typishly are accepted, which comes out to 7.87% of all submitters. This is not about rejection.
Did Anyone Read the Submission?
My issue was with the form letter I received after reading all the “encouragement” to submit to (and pay) a market that was supposedly different (and maybe superior) to most others. Had I received even one line of constructive criticism or a comment about something the editor liked or a phrase of personalized encouragement like that hinted at several times throughout the site–ANYTHING THAT WOULD REINFORCE THE EXPECTATION THAT MY WORK WAS PERSONALLY REVIEWED AND WAS BEING RESPONDED TO–I probably would have shrugged and thought “maybe next time.”
But other than creating a boiler plate form that fills in your name, Typishly’s “effort” was not worthy of the hype found extensively throughout the site. The FAQs on Typishly’s website state that “Jon tries to offer encouragement to writers whenever he can by mentioning things he likes about their writing.” But, I feel the 12 hour (overnight) response consisting of a boiler plate rejection would have been identical if I had submitted a “Roses are red…” poem, and it gives me a National Library of Poetry bad taste in my mouth.
Expectations and Perceptions
Yes, there is a disclaimer:
Paying our submission fee does not guarantee that we will publish your work and is not a purchase of editing services, written feedback or a writing review.
Would I have written this if I had received a form acceptance letter? I agree it probably wouldn’t have happened. So take that into consideration. Is this just sour grapes? Maybe, maybe not. I couldn’t resist trying the site which boasted that “our editor Jon has been encouraging creative people for a couple of decades. (Even his “maybe next time” notes are friendly.)” But, I never would have submitted and paid (even this paltry sum) had I known the transaction would end up feeling like I’d been scammed by an late-night infomercial.
Unlike other literary magazines, this site is trying to make the sale, giving you the much-hyped credentials of a superstar “creative director” who supposedly reads every submission personally (Did I ever tell you about the time I received a “personal email” from Arianna Huffington?). While unfortunately, there are an increasing number of lit mags charging fees supposedly to pay the necessary expenses, Typishly’s pitch throughout its site (in retrospect) feels like it’s written by the used car salesman desperate to initiate a financial transaction.
You most likely will receive a response in less than 24 hours (I received mine in a little over 12). You are told (at least in the disclaimer) not to expect feedback for the $4.77 submission fee, but be advised you may receive a form rejection letter so fast it raises questions of whether anyone really read your work at all, especially “the editor” himself.