Thursday, February 20, 2014

My First Rejection,

of my writing that is. At 54 I've had many rejections in my life which makes this one quite tolerable to bear. I queried this particular agent just two weeks ago, they did not want any chapters of my book only the query letter which involved just two paragraphs about my novel. I had to leave room in the one page query to talk about my past accomplishments, and the genre of the book as they requested in their submission guidelines. I am very pleased with their rapid turnaround since they said to expect 4-6 weeks before a response.

So you can see for yourself what a real rejection looks like, I've copied the email below removing of course the agents name.

Dear Ms. O'Shaughnessy,

Thank you for querying......................about your book project. We have evaluated your materials and regrettably, your project is not a right fit for our agency. We currently have a very full clientele and must be highly selective about the new projects we pursue.

Thank you again for thinking of us. Please know that we wish you much success in all of your future writing and publishing endeavors.


......................... Literary Associates

So now what? Well I'll continue to do what I've been doing. Constant rewriting and revising and I will send out several more queries this week. If I receive more rejections then I will send out more queries and so on and so on. In my reading I have learned that an agents rejection can be due to multiple variables. They don't see a market for my work, or my book just sounds dull, or perhaps they have all the stories they need that are similar to mine, or they did not feel a connection with me through my query letter.

But I do believe in my book and will continue to polish and improve. I will also be starting my second novel soon so that in the event an agent is interested in my novel The Child Clare, and wants to see more of my work, I will have it ready.

With that said, I did have some fun looking at other famous rejection letters of the past. They were grand to read, at least for me. I'm sure the authors on the other end were not so thrilled to receive them, especially poor Miss Gertrude Stein, bestselling author, when she opened up this little gem in her mailbox.
 With all the right things said you might wonder, how do I really feel?

Well, I am curious. I would love to know the following: did the agent feel anything when she read my letter? Was there the slightest bit of interest? Did she walk down the hall to her colleague and say "what do you think", only to be reminded that they printed a story like mine two years ago and it still isn't selling well? Or did she really, really want to represent me but her schedule was so full and they were representing so many authors she knew she couldn't do my project justice?

Yeah. That one makes me giggle too.

But I will never know. And that is just fine. Really, I am fine.


OK, I feel slightly, just slightly bruised. As if someone ran into my shopping cart at the grocery store causing my apples to fall out of the basket and well...bruised them, But they are not bad apples in their entirety. They are still firm and red and shiny with a couple tender spots that if not cared for right away will turn bad. So, I'm going to take them home, peel them and make a nice pie with a brown sugar topping.

Then I will take a piece up to my desk with a big carafe of black coffee and I will keep writing.

For more great rejections take a side trip to: Famous Rejection Letters


  1. Donna--I am so sorry you received a rejection letter. The word "rejection" seems so harsh. But, having lived a full life, with your priorities properly aligned, I know you will see a brighter day.

    I am frustrated that you do not get insight from the literary people. Wouldn't it be nice if they would just send a short statement of their opinion on how they formed their decision. Is it too politically correct to send the form letter, and not engage the author in their reasoning? I don't like it.

    Your talent will win out in the end. Keep your chin up. I've got your back, friend! Ann R

    1. Hey Ann! Thanks for following this blog. We so must get together again soon. Yes, I too would love more detail in my rejection letter but in todays climate I can understand why they are vague. Which is why the rejection letter I posted was so hysterical. Back in the day people just said what they felt as no one could afford attorneys! And besides if I got accepted right away how dull would this blog be?

  2. Aw, shucks. We all hoped for an immediate acceptance and request for more of your work. I'm so sorry it didn't turn out that way.

    I agree with Ann that it would be nice to get some feedback, but then I suppose that isn't an agent's job. The "right fit" excuse may be valid depending on what type of literature they do represent.

    In the end, that's why I self-published. I didn't think any publisher would ever see me as a "right fit," so I didn't bother to try. I definitely think you have a much better chance at it. Please accept all of our encouragements as you "pay your dues." Your internet buddies know you've got the goods.

    1. Leigh, this internet support system really is amazing is it not? Bloggers I have followed for so many years who have taken the time to reach out to me in this new venture of my life are real treasures. Like you are. Have you got that rocket stove built yet?

    2. No rocket stove yet, LOL. We do have three chimneys in this old house and may use the one in my studio for our first rocket stove when we finally get to upgrading the room. "When we finally get to" is the operative phrase here.

  3. I used to pin up my rejection letters until I ran out of wall space. Luckily, after a while, the opposing wall of acceptance checks started beefing up. Keep plugging away!

    1. WALL (?) of checks? How cool is that? I may have to forge a few to myself but hey, you got to start somewhere.

    2. Truly, the walls were of much different dimensions! And it was the acceptance letters I meant to say. Perseverance is key! Don't give up.

  4. Good on you, I start my second novel today too. Ist March! Have 5 blogging lessons scheduled, 5 Pinterest lessons to schedule (are written, just have to edit), calves to feed etc. It's 6pm so I should fit in an hour.
    I've sent mine to an agent too. Sounds like it will take a couple of weeks before she will have time to look at it but it will be interesting to see what she thinks. xx

    1. Why oh why do we do this? Filling in all our minutes of all our days? But then again I cannot imagine doing it any other way. In fact now that my kids are grown it seems easier somehow...except for all the time I waste feeling guilty about how fast my kids grew up.