When I started The Handy Uncapped Pen, I knew rejecting submissions would be a (hopefully small) part of operations. I've had to send a mere two rejections because of the lack of submissions, but I hated it both times. I have this urge to say yes to people, even if I know the content on offer isn't right for my publication.
I hope H.U.P. will never be so big that I need a template rejection. One of the few things I can give my submitters is a bit of my time to respond with genuine feedback or compliments. Perhaps it softens the blow, to feel they aren't just a means to an end for my blog. It isn't easy being a writer, it's worse when you don't feel appreciated or respected.
Components of my rejection:
1. I thank the person for submitting to me. I mean my gratitude and say it within the first two sentences.
2. I clearly tell the person I'm declining/passing on their work. No flowery words, no confusion.
3. I try to offer honest feedback or praise. I want people who submit to know their pieces were read by someone who engaged with it enough to have an opinion beyond "no".
4. I ask them to try submitting again. There might come a day where I hope someone never sends writing to me again, but it hasn't happened yet.
I don't tell people "art is subjective". Artists know it is.
Have you ever had to reject artists for a project/publication? How did you deal with it?
What makes a rejection letter/email easier to take?