Blogger: Rachel Kent
Today we’re talking rejection. Sorry! 🙂 But I hope this post will be helpful.
When an editor or agent sends a rejection letter, different types of rejections mean different things. Here’s the inside scoop, as I see it, on four main forms of rejection:
The Plain Old Rejection (usually sent for rejecting query letters):
This letter will say something like, Thanks, but no thanks. These are often form letters. It means that the project isn’t right for that editor or agent for one reason or another. If you continue to receive these rejections from every person you’re submitting to, consider revising your query, or maybe it’s time to move on to a new idea. Typically, an editor or agent will try not to hurt your feelings, so the letter might not contain their real response to your manuscript–but you can glean from this type of letter that the project was not the right fit.
The ‘Revise and Send Again’ Rejection (usually sent for rejecting proposals or manuscripts, not query letters):
This rejection letter will have some revision notes in it. This usually means that your proposal or manuscript sparked the agent or editor’s interest, but he or she knows that it needs to be revised in some way to have a chance in the current market. These rejections usually ask for the project to be sent again, if the suggested revisions are made. If you receive one of these rejections, be sure to follow through and send that revised project back to the agent or editors. (Agents and editors hate to take the time to make suggestions, only to have the potential client never resubmit but instead shows the new and improved version to another agent or publishing house–who, of course, thought it was genius!)
The ‘Any Other Ideas?’ Rejection (usually sent for rejecting proposals or manuscripts):
If you receive a rejection asking if you have any other ideas for projects, this typically means that the agent or editor enjoyed your writing, but didn’t think that your idea would work well in the current marketplace. You’ll want to write back to the agent/editor with a list of project ideas and an estimated date of when he or she could see a proposal, if you aren’t finished with the writing yet.
The ‘This Project Isn’t Right for Me’ Rejection (usually sent for rejecting proposals or manuscripts):
This type of rejection is used as a thanks, but no thanks rejection for proposals and manuscripts. It means that something in your query letter sparked the agent’s interest, but when he or she looked at the writing sample and examined the idea more closely, it wasn’t a good fit. If you continue to receive this type of rejection, stop submitting your project and consider revising. Figure out what it is in your hook that is drawing the interest, and be sure your writing highlights that unique angle in an artful way.
What do you do when you receive one of these types of rejections?
Can you think of any other kinds of rejections that an author might receive from an agent or editor?
The hidden meanings in rejection letters. Via @RachelLKent of Books & Such Lit. Agency. Click to tweet.