Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dealing With Rejection Letters - FFW

** Notice:  Names have been changed to protect the innocent **

To Eagerly Seeking Agent,
Thank you for submitting to All Mighty Literary Agency.
We greatly appreciate your submission, and have given The Greatest Work Ever our careful consideration. Unfortunately, your project is not a good fit for us at this time.
We wish you the best of luck in finding an enthusiastic agent and in your writing career.
Again, thank you for thinking of All Mighty Literary Agency.
With best wishes,
All Mighty Literary Agency

Okay.  We’ve all got them.  Rejection letters.  Or worse, we got no reply at all.  It’s hard not to let it discourage you.  I have a friend that wrote a book several years ago and has submitted it a total of three times.  She took each rejection so hard that she had to wait until the sting wore off enough and she built up more courage to send it out again.

While rejection hurts, it’s important not to take it personal.  It might be that your story truly isn’t what the agent/publisher was looking for at that time.  Move on to the next one on your list. 

Famous authors went through it just as we have.  But they persisted.  Let me share a few notes that some of them received.  Most of these are taken from Andre Bernard's little book Rotten Rejections:  The Letters that Publishers Wish They’d Never Sent.

Lady Chatterley's Lover by D H Lawrence
'for your own sake do not publish this book.'

Lord of the Flies by William Golding
'an absurd and uninteresting fantasy which was rubbish and dull.'

On Sylvia Plath
'There certainly isn't enough genuine talent for us to take notice.'

The Deer Park by Norman Mailer
'This will set publishing back 25 years.'

Lust for Life by Irving Stone
(which was rejected 16 times, but found a publisher and went on to sell about 25 million copies)
‘ A long, dull novel about an artist.’

Carrie by Stephen King
'We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias.  They do not sell.'

Catch – 22 by Joseph Heller
‘I haven’t really the foggiest idea about what the man is trying to say… Apparently the author intends it to be funny – possibly even satire – but it is really not funny on any intellectual level … From your long publishing experience you will know that it is less disastrous to turn down a work of genius than to turn down talented mediocrities.’

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
‘... overwhelmingly nauseating, even to an enlightened Freudian … the whole thing is an unsure cross between hideous reality and improbable fantasy.  It often becomes a wild neurotic daydream … I recommend that it be buried under a stone for a thousand years.’

So, keep it all in perspective and don’t give up.  Remember, it’s happened to the best.

Check out the other Fantastic Friday Writers’ blogs!


Anonymous said...

Charlene, You are inspiring...and truly encouraging - thank you.

J. D. Brown said...

Wow....That really puts things in perspective. I'm always shocked when agents/publishers say such horribly mean things! I would think that they, of all people, would act with more professional grace! If anyone sends me a letter like that, I'd never query them again, I wouldn't want to work with them anyway after that.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Carrie was science fiction????

Charlene A. Wilson said...

It helps to know we're not alone.

Thankfully I've received mostly form rejections. lol. I don't think I'd query them again either.

Alex--I know right?