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Apparently, Fake Editors Aren’t an Urban Legend

clipart-rejection-stamp.jpgYesterday afternoon, I briefly ran an item based on a tip from a reader who was convinced that he’d gotten a rejection letter from a non-existent editor—and a very badly written one at that. Shortly after the item was published, other readers figured out who the (very real) person might be, and since the name was close enough to the barely legible scrawl on the copy of the letter I’d received, I pulled the item off the homepage, because a sloppily written letter on Big Publisher letterhead didn’t seem like much of a story if there was actually somebody responsible for sending it out.

But, one reader assures me, sending out rejection letters under false names, in the hopes of avoiding long, tiresome correspondence with would-be writers, really has happened—at at least one company. “I worked at a publishing house which used a ‘fake’ contact for slush submissions and rejections,” this woman emails. “The name used was the maiden name of the deceased mother of one of the editors.” (As far as she knows, though, the practice was discontinued a while back, and unsolicited manuscripts are simply directed to unnamed category editors.)

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