Classic tale of Literary Rejections

Ever wonder why literary agents and editors are conspiring to reject your manuscript? You’re not alone. Below is a classic tale that most writers will identify with:

“When I wrote my first novel 30 years ago, it acquired a distinguished literary agent who acquired a distinguished crop of rejections. These were warm and individually written by senior executives. This undoubtedly was more due to my agent than to the quality of my novel, but the letters all showed that the novel had been read and analysed and they gave evidence of real feeling.

All expressed eagerness to see my next novel. Unfortunately, it took me 15 years to write it. By that time, many of the publishers concerned had been extinguished or devoured by giant corporate houses. Their successors were more interested in their bottom line than my opening line. My agent had moved on and no one wanted to replace him.

Into a far less welcoming literary market, I had to submit my new novel on my own. It collected a pile of short, impersonal rejections, barely softened by polite, formulaic expressions of thanks for offering it. I learnt then that the most terrifying sight for any author is a second-class letter addressed to him in his own handwriting.

Fifteen years on, my public demanded a sequel. So I wrote it and prepared to submit it to a new set of agents and publishers. But the market had changed again. Almost none would even look at a new manuscript. They expected me to submit a request for permission to submit to them (submission squared). I complied. I knocked out an appealing synopsis with a selection of the most sparkling passages.

It left them cold. You could have stored meat in them. The rejections were mostly automated emails. Laconic. Unemotional. No polite expressions, no ritual thanks, and no encouragement whatever to offer anything again.

The responses were far worse than 30 years ago, even though I am a better writer (my fan thinks so).” SOURCE

Before your give up your dream:

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