Friday, December 28, 2007

A Rejection Falls Between the Stalls


A published author sent in this amaaaaazing rejection for a novel that eventually got rewritten and published. Check out the last line of the first paragraph below: "If only you'd bloody well write something people would want to read." WTF?

Dear Writer,

[Title of Novel] is very well written, moving, funny, distressing, provoking, and so very, very dark you’d want to top yourself. [Name of Protagonist] has a great voice, though she also seems extraordinarily perceptive and articulate for a [young aged person]. And how does she know what’s going on with [Name of Different Character] [Details of Specific Situation and Page Numbers]? The difficulty with first-person narration is the narrator can’t be everywhere at once. Yet despite all these compliments, I don’t think I could sell this one either. It’s not fair, is it (but what is)? A good writer, which you are, with a good story and a good voice to tell it in, should be able to find a publisher – but I can’t think who I’d approach. I could say it falls between the stalls of literary and commercial fiction, but that would be a cop-out. I suggest you try other agents – publishing is a totally subjective business, and I’ve been wrong before – and don’t lose heart. If only you’d bloody well write something that people would want to read without resort to the bottle or the noose!

I’m sorry, really. A second time.

All the best, [Name of Agent Withheld]

Thank you, fine published author, for sending this rejection in and giving us all a little hope and good cheer for 2008! We all really want to read your book.

8 comments:

The Quoibler said...

Hm... do you think that this is the agent's failed attempt at humor?

Q-Babe

Writer, Rejected said...

I think this agent is British, Q-Meister. So, maybe it's some Benny Hill humor?

The Quoibler said...

Ah... I can see it now... a large gentleman chasing scantily clad nurses around an "operating room" while bubbly music plays in the background.

Perfect, just perfect. ;)

Marins said...

Regardless of the weird rejection letter...at least the writer was inspired to rewrite it and later get it through. That's why I appreciate someone actually telling
you about the manuscript's flaws rather just generally rejecting it.

esteban said...

he must be british
http://www.spymac.com/details/?2321924

Anonymous said...

I like the marketplace imagery, though -- if only we could really sell our wares at a Literary Stall or a Commercial Stall.

Oops, I dropped this on in that dusty place in between!

TIV: the individual voice said...

Is the letter writer merely referring to the theme of the bottle or the noose in the manuscript? Or, do we have a situation of projection here, which might require a call to some literary 911?

L. Shepherd said...

Wow, the publishing industry must be even worse than I thought. A book that is interesting, intriguing and evokes a lot of feeling isn't write for the market? Couldn't the agent have suggested a few rewrites? I have to think that the agent just wasn't any good to begin with.