View Full Version : Wonderful rejection

01-13-2005, 04:20 AM
Last August I received a rejection letter that I carry around with me in my purse. My agent received it based on my mss Again that she sent to an editor at HarperCollins. The editor wrote the following:

"As always, thank you so much for sharing the very strong and engaging AGAIN by Sharon Cullars with me and for your extraordinary patience in awaiting my response.

I see why you're so head over heels in love with this; and I was too, in some parts. The writing is strong, fluid and accessible. It's an engaging, entertaining story and I believe you and Cullars really have something here. The sex scenes are wonderfully hot and riveting and the rapid shuttling between centuries towards the end of the novel is terrific and really keeps the pages turning. However, I think it needs a great deal of work in crux, structure and development."

Then she goes on to give some constructive criticism on where i fell short, suggestions that I have since incorporated into my re-write. Unfortunately, she indicated that she would pass on the mss even if changed. Fortunately, she has since left the publishing house, so I get a second bite at the apple.

Whenever I get depressed about my writing shortfalls, I take out the letter (that was faxed to me by my agent) and re-read it for encouragement. The letter is dog-eared and the lettering is fading, but I'll keep it as long as it is in one piece, forever travelling with me in my purse for those occasions when I need a nip of confidence.

01-13-2005, 04:30 AM
I love hearing encouraging rejection stories. Thanks, Sharon!


01-13-2005, 08:41 PM
Thanks Detante. I'm in the last stages of my re-writes and will be sending the mss off to my agent in the next weeks. She plans to resubmit to HarperCollins as well as Kensington, so I'm keeping my fingers x'd and my pen writing. :D

aka eraser
01-14-2005, 07:16 AM
I too got a great rejection from the first publisher I approached about my book. It was so positive that my own enthusiasm was bolstered. The next day I sent the proposal out to the 2nd company on my list and they bought it.

01-14-2005, 07:30 AM
Sharon, thank you so much for sharing this!! It really does help, not only to let us know that a rejection can be positive, but what publishers look for in a good story.

And, by the way, I was in an X-Files fan club YEARS ago. A member of this online group went by the nick "scullars" a play on the "Scully" name. When I first saw your nick here, it reminded me of her. It's nice to know (beforehand) that I shouldn't say anything in relation to this experience when speaking with you, since this is your real name! ;)

01-14-2005, 09:19 AM
Thanks Eraser. That really does encourage me to keep going. And Greenwolf, I was also an X-Files fan. One of my favorite sites is Skinnerotica, which is a fanfic site featuring stories about Skinner and Skully.

three seven
02-02-2005, 08:23 PM
I had a very similar scenario with my first novel, which was an action thriller. Same torrent of praise from the editor (pacy, exciting, witty, page-turning, wonderfully written etc,) but she wanted me to rewrite the ending because she didn't think it was believable. Ok, fair enough, I was young and I'd obviously watched one too many Joel Silver productions, and I totally agreed with her. We agreed on many things and spoke often. Well, it had taken me eight weeks to write the book, and it took my lazy ass a year to come up with a satisfactory rewrite. The next letter I received informed me that my lovely editor was no longer an editor and that the new editor flat-out hated it, quite possibly enough to send a machine back through time to kill my mother. Excellent.
In fairness, though, I read the ms again recently and actually, yeah, it was s**t.
Funnily enough, it wasn't the hateful rejection that caused me to shelve it and not write again for ten years, but that's a story for another time.

02-02-2005, 09:13 PM
We had been zeroing in on the Perfect Agent whose profile is an exact match for we have been looking for.

Egg sacked.

But he said, no thanks.

Good news though. Our query was on the mark and sufficiently sucking up. He just didn't like the work. Too literary.

Too literary?


02-02-2005, 09:57 PM
Got one from Weird Tales for a piece I submitted last October:

"The ending is more revelation than resolution. Otherwise, it's very well written."

02-03-2005, 12:32 AM
At least that rejection offered food for thought, maestro.

Robin Grantham
02-03-2005, 10:36 PM
Thanks for posting these, you guys. You give me hope.

Congrats to you, Sharon -- it sounds like you have a winner. It seems like you just need the timing to be right.

three seven -- That bit about sending a machine back through time to kill your mother caught me off guard. I just about choked on my pop. *I don't know, officer. We found her like that -- it looks like she snorted some diet coke and fell off her chair.*

Maestro -- Maybe that means I'll be getting some feedback soon on some things I've had out since September.

I did get a rejection of a flash the other day. It looked pretty cookie-cutter -- No go on this one. Send us another. I guess it was better than, Please take our name off your list. In fact, do try a new career. Something with less words.

02-04-2005, 02:19 AM
Please take our name off your list. In fact, do try a new career. Something with less words.

:rollin I don't know which one is funnier: That or the famous Chinese rejection letter.

Robin Grantham
02-04-2005, 03:27 AM
I'm almost afraid to ask . . . .

What is the famous Chinese rejection letter? (Or where can I find it?)

You guys might get a kick out of the list I posted yesterday on my blog -- "Top Signs Something Might Be Wrong With Your Query" -- just a bit of outrageousness if you like that kind of humor. The list seemed to go over pretty well, though by last night the items on it were just looking a little pathetic to me.:lol (I swear none of them applies to me -- at least not yet.)

Blogburger (http://bellibean.blogspot.com)

02-04-2005, 06:38 AM
Rejection letter from a Chinese publisher (http://valis.cs.uiuc.edu/~sariel/blog/index.php/archives/2004/05/26/rejection-letter-from-a-chinese-publisher/)

BBL about the blog; I'm VERY TIRED right now. |I

Robin Grantham
02-04-2005, 06:50 AM
That's hilarious.

For a minute I thought it was going to end with, "If you'll just be kind enough to send me your bank account and pin numbers . . . "

No worries about the blog. It's just a bit of fun.

Thanks for the link.

02-05-2005, 11:13 PM
I like this one:

) You keep getting replies that begin with the phrase: How did you get this new e-mail address? I thought I was rid of you.


Robin Grantham
02-06-2005, 03:55 AM
Thanks, Dawn.

I have to admit, I think my favorite is this one:

**You thought a singing strip-o-gram would be just the thing to get their attention. If you delivered it yourself, you get even more bonus points than the maleman. If you delivered it yourself and you're reading this from jail, good news -- your book may finally sell now.**

I bet the 'real' query stories are far more interesting.

You know, I haven't sent a single query out since I wrote those. I think I traumatized myself. Plus, I'm pretty sure the mail woman has decided to keep the Herman's Guide I ordered. Everyone's a writer these days.:p