Saturday, January 5, 2008

Please read your rejections

For all of you writers, I want you to listen carefully.

When you get a rejection, read it carefully. Although it is a bit frustrating when someone says no to a manuscript, it is still important to read what they had to say. You'd be surprised but they will tell you a lot about your work. Watch for patterns as well. If you see that several people are saying the same thing, guess what? You better fix it.

In many cases, people continue to make the same mistakes, continue to spin their wheels and continue to get rejections. No, it isn't a matter of time, it is simply a situation that these writers are not learning from their mistakes.

So, read those rejections, look for patterns and fix the problem. Don't just blame the editors or agents for their "lack of understaning in regards to YOUR story."


  1. Ah, but what if the rejections from all agents/houses are the same, as in they look to be a standard form letter. What should a writer do then? Because those letters simply say, great writing, try other houses, we don't feel/see the commercial value so can't properly rep the work?

    btw, nice blog :D

  2. Surprisingly, that is an easy answer. What that message really means is that your writing is not in the style of that house. Each house has a unique voice and style. For a writer to fit in at that house, he/she must have that same voice or style.

    Now, if you are getting rejections that say the writing has no commercial value, it means that, although the writing might be good, the publisher could never sell it. Remember, this is a business and regardless of whether or not your story is good, it still has to be something that can sell.

    Finally, if all you are getting are "form letters" then in all likelyhood, you got shuffled through the slush pile. To get through that stack means your story has to be truly unique and eye catching. You have to catch them on the first paragraph. Nothing unique in the beginning, or if it reads like everything else means you get the big rejection.

    It's tough, but it's true.

    Best of luck!