Friday, October 10, 2008


Okay, I know that rejection is no laughing matter.  But if you're an active writer (i.e., you have finished a manuscript, article, something else that's ready to submit), then you've probably experienced your fair share.  Think of all the opportunities for rejection that lurk out there between literary agents and book and magazine editors.

Sometimes you've just got to have a chance to laugh about it, though.  Remember, J.K. Rowling was rejected by an editor, too.  And isn't he sorry he turned her down? 

When I stumbled across a funny post about rejection and an even funnier web site, I had to share.  The website is  and it touts itself as: "The writer's and artist's online source for misery, commiseration, and inspiration."  Chances are, you'll see many versions of your own form letter rejection here.

I also came across a great blog entry on the agent blog "The Rejecter."  The anonymous literary agent assistant on the blog states that authors will find fault with any rejection they receive.  That's probably true.  Here's a sampling of the agent's possible rejection language and the author's possible response to it:

Rejection: "Thanks, not for me."
Author: "What, she couldn't take the time to write more than one line?"

Rejection: "(long and winding things about how the author should try other agencies and there's potential, but it's just not for this agent for some such reason, and good luck!)"
Author: "How long does it take her to say 'no'?"

Rejection: Printed on a half-slip of paper.
Author: "She couldn't afford an entire sheet of paper?"

Rejection: Printed on a normal sheet of high-quality paper.
Author: "For two lines? What a waste of paper. I guess agents don't care about the environment."

Rejection: Photocopied form response.
Author: "How impersonal! Did she even read it or did she just stuff envelopes?"

Rejection: Personal note on original query letter, handwritten.
Author: "What, she couldn't afford the time to type out a whole letter?"

It goes on an on. The point is: We're saying no and you don't like it. All agents try to use different tactics to soften the blow, but none of them work, though intentions are usually good.

Remember that everyone goes through rejection.  If the letters are personal enough to give you writing or revision tips, take the advice. And just keep on trying.