Posts Tagged ‘rejection’

Band-Aids for rejected writers

December 5, 2011

One way to salve the wounds of rejection by publishers or literary agents is to read rejection lessons received by other, far greater writers. There are numerous collections of these, but I recently stumbled across a small, new compendium of rejection letters on the web site Flavorwire.

It includes rejection letters received by Kerouac, Plath, Gertrude Stein and others, but here is my favorite. The Left Hand of Darkness won the 1969 Nebula Award and the 1970 Hugo award, and established LeGuin as one of the most respected sci-fi/fantasy writers of her generation.


(Of course, what we don’t know is what kind of manuscript LeGuin had turned in! Maybe it was “hopelessly bogged down” and she rewrote significantly before it was eventually published.

Then again, maybe not.)

Best rejection ever?

March 26, 2011

For the past two months, I’ve been steadily throwing stuff at the wall — um, I mean, mailing out queries for my newest novel.  Mostly I’ve been met with silence. Sometimes that means the agent hasn’t read the query yet. Sometimes it means they’ve read it but get so many queries that they can’t bother to respond. That’s annoying, and Miss Manners wouldn’t approve, but I can understand it.

I’ve also gotten a few rejections. Some are form letters: “Dear author….” Some are nice, personalized rejections along the lines of “You’re a very good writer but I didn’t fall in love with this.”

But this one — I have to share it.  From an agency that shall remain unnamed, it takes the form rejection to a new pinnacle. (Or should that be nadir?)

To Whom It May Concern,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to consider your work. Unfortunately, we did not feel your project was a right fit for our agency. But we do wish you the best of luck.

Please forgive the form letter, but the enormous volume of inquiries we receive obliges us to respond in this manner. Thank you, and again, best wishes in your future endeavors.

What sets this one apart is its To Whom It May Concern.

To Whom It May Concern!

It’s like they’re writing not to an individual author, but to an entire Department of Rejected Novel Production. Gosh, I hope I can route the rejection to the appropriate person or persons in the department, since there are so many of us here. Let’s see, there’s Rejected Adverb Writer. Rejected Pronoun Writer. Rejected Curator of Themes and Metaphors. I’m not sure if this should to go to our nice Rejected Help Desk people in Bangalore, or directly upstairs  to the V.P. of Global Rejection Sourcing….

And may! And concern!

It “may concern” me that I can’t sell the novel I’ve been working on for two years.  It just possibly may, a teeny little bit. Then again, maybe not! Maybe I am on so much Prozac that I am not the least bit concerned. Maybe I’ve left  this project behind already and am investing in thin-film solar arrays. Maybe I have received so many offers from so many publishers — oh yeah, from a couple of film studios, too, and then there’s that upcoming dinner with Michelle and Barack — that I won’t even notice that this agent is rejecting my work.

Okay, have I vented enough? Any more venting and I will be sitting in a thatched cabana, not a home office.

Despite my spleen, form rejections like this bother me less than when someone has read the entire book and rejected it.

I’ve actually had a good, busy week with some interesting ideas starting to percolate about the publishing world. But I’ll get to those in a future post.