editors / letters / neurotic thinking / novel / publication / rejection / writing

Please forgive this impersonal blog entry. Your comments, however, will be accepted.

These are a few of the rejections I’ve received over the years. A few were addressed to me, though many were addressed to Dear Author.

Due to the current status of the publishing industry–and the selectivity that the market now demands, we regret that we cannot consider your material at this time.

I can’t decide if they both didn’t like it, or just the senior agent.

Thank you for sending us the full manuscript of your novel as we requested. Two of us have now had the chance to read it, and we found the subject matter both compelling and relevant, as well as incredibly moving.

Ultimately, however, —– did not feel strongly enough about the writing to agree to represent this book with the greatest possible enthusiasm. Hers is only one opinion, of course, and we both wish you the best of luck in finding the right agent to represent your work.

This one sounded the harshest to me.

Please accept my apology for this form response, but the volume of mail received in my office makes a personal reply impossible.

I have reviewed your material and it is not anything I wish to work with at this time. Thank you for the submission and I wish you the best of luck with other agents.

What makes a person enthusiastic?

Thank you for your submission. Unfortunately, I was not sufficiently enthusiastic to feel I’d be the right agent for your work. In addition, I’m taking on very few new clients so I must turn down a lot of good submissions.

Aren’t impersonal rejections easier than personal ones?

Please forgive this impersonal note regarding your query, which we have considered but must decline. As we receive a tremendous number of queries, we are unable to respond to each submission individually, but we thank you for the opportunity to review your work.

We encourage you to keep writing and to try other agents.

Who does connect to my writing? Enough people to sell a book?

Thank you for sending the requested materials for our consideration and for your patience while I spent far too long considering it.

It is clear you have devoted a lot of time and effort to your novel, and you have every reason to be proud of the result. …..is not a simple subject to write about, but your work was very well done and certainly intriguing. I’m afraid though that I couldn’t connect with your writing enough to justify taking this on and submitting it into a market that seems to grow more and more difficult to enter.

As such we are passing, but thanks again for the opportunity and I wish you all the best of luck in placing your work elsewhere and in your future as a writer.

Well, it is good they are dedicated to the clients they have. Some agents aren’t.

Thank you for your letter regarding representation. Unfortunately, we’re taking on very few new projects at the moment due to an already full load with present clients and are not able to ask to see your manuscript.

This one was one of the most disappointing.

I so apologize for my delay in getting back to you. We were cleaning out the office and came upon your query for —. And while this certainly sounds like an original premise for a novel, I can see from my extraordinary delay that I’m simply too overwhelmed with work lately to be able to responsibly agree to take this on. I thank you for thinking of me here, though, and have no doubt that you’ve found other representation by now. I do wish you the very best of luck with this work.

Again, I’m sorry for my inexcusably slow response.

This was the rare hand-written note.

Thank you for thinking of me, Marta, but unfortunately the novel you describe doesn’t sound like what I’m currently looking for, so I’m going to pass. Good luck elsewhere.

Elsewhere is beginning to sound like a magical land.

I’m suspect (and does this make me naive or pretentious?) that my work is too quirky (or perhaps woo-woo!) for a mass audience. So what would any agent do? (WWAAD–I can see the plastic bracelet now.)

9 thoughts on “Please forgive this impersonal blog entry. Your comments, however, will be accepted.

  1. I’m sorry so many of those were so weird and somewhat hurtful. It has to be the hardest thing to have worked so hard to make the art the best it can be, to hone your craft and skill over all those years, and not even get the consideration of a decent reason for being rejected.

    But remember, it only takes one acceptance, right? And there IS the outstanding request for 155 pages still, isn’t there? (Did I miss anything on that? I hope not.)

    We’re still all here pulling for you.

    • The one I thought was truly weird I didn’t post because it was too long and included a list of writing books to buy and a flier for a conference to attend. But it ended with the agent saying he was looking forward to seeing my book one day in Barnes & Noble, which I found infuriating. Don’t soften the rejection with nonsense!

      And it is hard explain why some hurt and others don’t. Maybe it has to do with the kind of day I’m having already when I open the envelop. Sometimes I shrug and say, “Oh well.” And other days I question my existence.

      And then there is the possibility that my work isn’t really good enough at all. And if I’ve worked this hard and am still not good enough, maybe I can’t be.

      AND THEN I see other books and think, “Really? This is better than I can do?”

      But I can’t account for everything that went in to someone else’s success.

      You haven’t missed anything either. I haven’t heard about those pages–not sure how long to wait before getting paranoid and depressed.

      Thanks, Darc, as always.

  2. “Who does connect to my writing? Enough people to sell a book?”

    I bet Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords readers would connect to your writing.

    Just sayin’, you know, since you asked. 😀

    If you believe in your writing, you must never give up. And I know of at least 1 guaranteed sale if you e-pubbed your book. 🙂

    • You certainly have a point. But in the sea of stories out there…traditionally published or e-published, or published whichever-whatever way, how do you keep your story from sinking?

      Thanks to you, too, Darcs. We shall see what happens.

  3. If you’ve received all those rejections and you’re still going, I applaud you for your determination. Really. I’ve had some lovely rejection notes myself and they do hurt.

    I will echo the above commenter, though. A lot of writers are starting to ask questions like, do I really need an agent? Do I need a publisher? What are the advantages of traditional publishing as opposed to navigating Kindle/Nook/Smashwords myself? I’m not saying that ‘Option B: Go It Alone’ is always the best way, but it seems that it is increasingly worth looking into.

    • The publishing world seems to be confused these days, and it is hard to know what to do. And I don’t want to assume that agents say no because they are blind or unfair. They may well have a point and my work may not be all that it can be. Or I’m trying the wrong agents. Or something I haven’t been able to imagine.

      Thanks for stopping by, Charlotte.

  4. You were right, the third one did seem harsh, makes me wonder sometimes when these rejections read so nasty. Good luck with other research, you knew know, you might bump into the perfect agent for your work.

    • Without the agent’s voice and facial expressions it is hard to know if he meant the letter the way sounded to me. Or maybe he thinks blunt it simpler. I generally dislike the letters that are too nice. They seem condescending.

      Thanks for the good wishes. I don’t know if there is a perfect agent for me, but maybe.

  5. Thanks for posting these rejections–disheartening, especially the one who found your MS when cleaning up the office. The ‘land of elsewhere’–mythical or still worth hunting for?

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