Friday, September 13, 2013

Rejection of Authors: Part Four - The Rejection Letter

Rejection letters come in a variety of different styles, the most common perhaps being the form rejection letter. Some of these can be very formal and professional, on company letterhead, but others can be very poor examples of business communication. I actually still have one of the latter from a quite reputable publisher, who pride themselves on their professionalism, I’m sure. The letter thanks me for submitting my manuscript, but regrets that after reading it thoroughly, it is not suitable for their house at this time and wishes me good luck in my search for a publisher. Encouraging you might think, except that I had not sent them a manuscript, merely a query letter and synopsis. The letter they sent was also a poor quality, off-centre photocopy, made on a machine in need of replacement toner. Not exactly a strong recommendation to submit to this house again. I do show this particular letter to aspiring writers at some of my workshops, to advise them just what they might be up against in their own quest for publication.

The next step up from the good quality form letter is one that may have a real signature, rather than a scanned one, plus a handwritten note. This could be on the letter itself or on an attached piece of paper, but it is still encouraging if it says something like ‘thanks for your submission’, ‘cute story, but not for us right now,’ or even a simple ‘good luck’. Better still is the note that states that while your submitted story is not for them, feel free to send in something else. Yes, its still a rejection, but you’re moving up the rejection charts, no doubt about it, and you can take heart that someone in the publishing world actually thinks your work has merit. 

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