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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.


The Quoibler said...

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


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. ;)

Anonymous said...

Regardless of the weird rejection 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.

Unknown said...

he must be british

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!

x 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.