View Full Version : Wordy, much?

Ardent Kat
11-12-2009, 10:10 PM
Just got a chuckle from the latest form rejection I received. This thing was no less than 400 words long. Sheez! I wouldn't send a query letter that was that long and I need to pitch my entire book, while these guys just need to say, "Sorry, not interested. Good luck elsewhere."

I'd love to get a long-winded rejection that told me how I could improve my work, but as it's a form rejection, what's the point?

The rejection had all the elements you'd expect to find:
Thanks for sharing your work with us...
I only add a handful of new writers a year...
It's a subjective business...
I get 1,000 quereis a month and must reject 99% of them...
Assume I'm wrong and keep submitting elsewhere...

But this agent spent a paragraph over-explaining each of these points. The form rejection took so long to say so little, it made me feel kind of glad this agent chose to pass me up. Editing (at least cutting extraneous words) is certainly not this agent's forte.

11-12-2009, 10:39 PM
I got this rejection from Laurie McLean yesterday, clocking in at 401 words. I wonder if we got rejected by the same agent, Ardent Kat?

Thank you for sharing your work with me. I know that writing a book is a time-consuming and emotional process, so I appreciate the effort you have expended to reach this point in your publishing journey. Alas, I must reject what you have been kind enough to submit.

I only add a handful of new writers to my client roster each year, so I search for a unique voice, finely-honed writing skills, stellar world building talent, characters that jump off the page and a story that pulls me in from the first word and doesn't let go. I know that's a lot to ask for, but traditional publishing is a highly competitive business and if I can't sell something to a large or medium-sized New York publisher I do not take it on.

Like the rest of the arts, publishing is a very subjective business. Even though the founders of the agency have written or coauthored 14 books, most of which have been successful, they still get rejected from time to time. And although we have sold books to more than 100 publishers since 1972, some of our clients’ work is still rejected. Nor do all of the books that we sell succeed. These are the realities of today's publishing industry.

I receive nearly a thousand submissions a month and reject more than ninety-nine percent of them. But rejecting manuscripts that become successful books is a publishing tradition.

Assume I'm wrong. Persevere until your books reach the goals you set for them. I can’t suggest a publisher or another agent who might be interested in a particular writer’s work, but directories, your publishing network, and the Association of Authors’ Representatives might lead you to the agent you need. Persistence rewards talent. I can’t make a living saying no, but as author Joe Girard says: “Every no gets you closer to yes.”

I wish you the best of luck with your writing career. Our website has information you may find helpful--www.larsenpomada.com. You might also check my blog, www.agentsavant.com.

NOTE: Elizabeth and Michael are co-founders of the San Francisco Writers Conference held on President’s Day weekend in February. Please visit www.sfwriters.org for info. Michael is the author of How to Write a Book Proposal and How to Get a Literary Agent. With Jay Conrad Levinson and Rick Frishman, he is coauthor of Guerrilla Marketing for Writers: 100 Weapons for Selling Your Work.

11-12-2009, 11:34 PM
I don't read my rejections. The medium is the message.

Wayne K
11-12-2009, 11:51 PM
I keep all my hard copy rejects in an envelope and the e-mail ones in a folder. I love them all. Half the fun is the journey.

11-13-2009, 02:34 AM
First, yu never now who writes a rejection, regardless of the signature. The agnet might write it, an assistant might write it, or the carpet cleaner might write it. You just never know.

Second, always read your rejections. Sometimes they have "Rewrite and resubmit" buried in the text.