Bounce-backs are when an author receives a rejection letter and immediately emails the publisher back. They are some of the worse ways to ensure future prospects with a publisher. Now, I’m more sensitive than most editors, but I know of none, absolutely none, who feel good about writing rejection letters. We’ve all received them and we know how bad it feels. In publishing in general the appropriate response to a rejection is silence on the part of the author. Since I submit more fiction for publication than non, it is mostly in that realm that I experience rejection. (I’ve had my fair share in the nonfiction realm as well.) I know, however, that if I want a future chance with a publisher you simply walk away from a rejection.
Bounce-backs are a bad idea for a number of reasons. First of all, they don’t change anything. Unless a rejection is conditional (it rarely is), all a bounce-back does is make an editor who probably already feels bad about it feel even worse. Misery may love company, but it’s unprofessional to spread it around. Secondly, bounce-backs hurt your future prospects. Nobody wants to establish a professional relationship with someone who can’t take rejection. A third reason is you’re asking someone who’s already considered your project and who’s moved on, to take more time with a book (or article, or story) to which they’ve already said “no thank you.” A fourth reason is that a bounce-back announces loudly and clearly, “I didn’t take time to think about this; I’m reacting emotionally.”
One of the best things an aspiring writer can do—and this includes academics—is to learn about the publishing industry. There are tons of resources out there. The best information I personally have found on success in academic publishing is reading about how to submit fiction for publication. I have a very long list of rejections to hold up against the twenty-something stories I’ve had published. None of those rejections felt good. Obviously, I thought my material was good, otherwise I wouldn’t have sent it in. I try not to take it personally, but slowly learning those lessons has led to more frequent success. You need to practice submission to get better at it. I’m somewhat of an expert on aporripsophobia, so I can say with confidence that even a nice, polite, “thank you” in response to rejection is not favored. Simply let it go. That’s the professional thing to do.