Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Dear Author

So I woke up feeling frisky. I decided it was time to respond. This response is to the likes of which I (and every writer I know) had received at some point. In fact, a baffled colleague had just shared getting one to a manuscript for which I was privileged to be a beta reader. Sometimes it’s easier to go to bat for someone else whose work is as good as it gets, in my not humble enough opinion.


From my never-to-be-sent response, you can pretty much reconstruct the original rejection.


Dear Publishing Professional,
I thank you for reading my submission, and for saying you loved-loved-loved it. You needn’t have thanked me for offering, as you said, just the sort of work you are always looking for. I researched and made certain this is the sort of story you have worked on before, and are still looking for. I was most happy that you found it among the best you have seen, and shared this assessment with me. I noted with joy your delight at the relationship between the two protagonists, and the edge-of-one's-seat plot. Your comment on the beautiful phrasing and pacing was most rewarding, because I had worked diligently on both aspects.
Of course, I was saddened that you ended with having to pass on this story, because it is not a fit for your list. Mea culpa. I should have realized your list is made of poorly realized relationships, plodding plots and tired language. I now understand better why you needed to pass on this manuscript.

I will do my best to target next time.
Sincerely,

Author




Okay, steam blown and serenity restored.

‘Tis baffling, but there it is. All publishing professionals are beyond overworked and overwhelmed with less than wonderful offerings by the zillions. But variations of effusive letters that ended with a pass leave a writer with nothing to fix but existence itself.

And no, this particular rejection really was not one I got. But I did see it and it really did happen just now to someone else, and that someone else is going---.


Still, we're ever hopeful, and waiting for some love. C'mon, it's almost Valentine's Day

14 comments:

  1. This was funny. Thanks for the chuckle this morning.
    I got a rejection for a manuscript that an agent "liked, but . . ." (Although it wasn't as effusive as saying she loved it, but . . . ) Those passes really are a little confusing. It would be so much more helpful if they said something like "I love the characters, but the plot was thin," or "I loved the plot, but the characters weren't fully realized, " or some such. Of course, in those cases, they expect to take care of flaws like that before sending. Still, "I loved it but . . ." is so . . . cloudy.

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  2. Good one, Mirka. You should send it for real :)

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    1. Me thinkst not, and anyway-- it isn't for me to send. But putting it here is even better in some ways.

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  3. Fun response. I think praise-filled rejections are almost harder to receive than a form letter or no response at all. You do everything possible, come out on top, and STILL can't earn the prize.

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    1. No one owes a reason for saying NO. But it's the irrational phrasing (the kind I parodied here) that leave the greatest gaping hole.

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  4. As an author, I hated these rejections the most because hearing how amazing your work is and then still getting a no really stings. That’s why when I was an acquisitions editor, I hated having to reject people. It’s tough.

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    1. No doubt, it's tough on both ends. But I think it's harder to be the "regecty" :O

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  5. I wish you could anonymously publish your fake letter online so editors could see it. Good come-back for your friend.

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    1. Well, this is as "online" as it gets, though not anonymous. I'm not big on anonymous posts anyhow. I like to stand (rather than hide) behind my posts.

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  6. Ha ha! Oh, yeah. One of my friends got something similar recently. I'm going to have to make sure she sees this post.

    My most positive recent rejection had a line something like "I have too many novels in verse I'm shopping around now" but "some other agent is going to snap it up." Disappointed, but not puzzled as I would be by something like this.

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    1. I hope another agent does snap your novel in verse, Sue.
      I had been in a situation where an editor wanted a manuscript of mine but could not get the support of other editors at that house. In that particular case, she stated this clearly. I think my colleague's rejection could possibly be something along those lines, except that is was not put clearly.

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  7. A great response Mirka, reminds me of some of the letters I've written to family members in the past but (thankfully) never sent. Last year I submitted three poems to a magazine but two days later had to withdraw them because another (less well known) magazine wanted to publish them first. Upon withdrawing from the second magazine they emailed me saying "Oh No, we were just going to contact you, we really liked these poems, please send us more." Which I did, which they rejected. :( Oh well.

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    1. "We want more, but no thanks." Ah.I Don't-yes-not get it... :O

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