My First Rejection Letter

Okay, it had to happen sooner or later. After three publications, I’ve finally received the inevitable “slap” of a rejection.  When I opened it and started reading, the email could have gone both ways, and then it slipped into…

“We are no longer able to reply to each query individually, but please be assured we consider every submission very carefully.  Unfortunately, your manuscript is not a good fit for us at this time.”

Okay, well, it was a “nice” rejection.  They didn’t say it stunk. They even asked to keep them in mind for my next project (yeah, it’s a form letter, but it was nice, and I will still keep them in mind.  They are a great publisher.)


I understand what people talk about now.  Since this was an all-encompassing form letter, I have no idea WHY it was rejected.  In fact, I don’t even know if they got past the query.

***I don’t know***

Are they glutted with Paranormal Romance right now?  I don’t know.

Was the story too short? I don’t know.

Have they seen the plot before?  I don’t know.

Was in not “Romancy” enough? I don’t know.

Did they not see the value of it as a continuing series? I don’t know.

Did they laugh at my inadequacy? I don’t know.

Honestly, when I first read it, I was not disappointed, even though I was really interested in that publisher.  My reaction was more like.  “Oh, okay, I’ll just look somewhere else”

But then those questions above started sinking in. I started questioning myself.

After a little while though, I dusted myself off.  I like the story, and I have it out at a few other publishers as well.  Someone will like it.

But while I’m waiting, I don’t want my cute little egg sitting in one basket.  I’m actively seeking a few more publishers.  One that I’ve found, I actually think I like MORE that my first pick.

We’ll see how it goes.  No tears, no disappointment, just onward and upward.

It’s just the business, right?

How do you feel about “form” rejections?



26 responses to “My First Rejection Letter

  1. The form rejections are a bummer…and all those “Why”‘s can drive a person bonkers. But you’ve got great perspective and a method that works really well for you. I’m sure it’ll do the trick and this one will be picked up, eventually too (and by a publisher that’s an even more perfect fit than the one that sent that letter!) Good luck!

  2. Jennifer ~ Rejection is only fertilizer and the push to keep seeking for the right publisher! Ever read Alicia Appleman Jurman? it took her 5 yrs but it’s a book that’s been read all over the world! Don’t doubt yourself – its a test of faith but not a fail! Sincerely Debbie

  3. Form rejection letters are annoying, as you said.. it’s the “I don’t know why” that makes them annoying. I prefer to think they are just swamped and.. it wasn’t personal. It’s the non rejection letters that annoy me. I’ve one story that i’ve sent out four times now, with only one rejection letter. Three no shows, argh..

  4. I had one publisher who actually took the time to tell me WHY it was rejected and her comments were really helpful. I had yet another, question my sanity. And yeah, it’s the business. Glad you are taking the high road.

  5. No biggie, girl. It’s a subjective choice. Someone will love your baby. Make sure you write a stand-out query etc and move on to agents and small publishers. Best wishes on finding a good home.

  6. I’m sure they are just not looking for what you’re offering AT THIS time. Surely, that’s the only reason.

  7. Dear Jennifer

    Rejection of your writing is tough and unpleasant, but I have found that giving a copy of your manuscript to some of your best friends and a few casual friends and asking them for a completely, unbiased opinion of your story often helps you. At least, you will get some idea of what’s right and what’s wrong with it. Keep up the chin and forge ahead with your next story. Sooner or later, some publisher will just love it.


  8. I have to balance form rejections against the wholly positive feedback I gain from my blog comments. I publish all my ghost stories online and redraft from any pertinent comments received before I send to publishers. If a form letter arrives I either self-publish (and be damned) or move forward slightly humbled but still eager to write. Good article! Regards, Paul

  9. Julie Catherine

    Aww, I’m sorry you got a rejection, and it would have been helpful to have some kind of an idea of ‘why’ so you know where to go from here … but I agree with Vanessa – you’ve had several acceptances first, and that must help the confidence levels immensely! Keep putting your work out there – I know when the right ‘home’ comes along, it will fit in just perfectly! ~ Love and hugs, Julie xoxox

  10. To me, what is important is if your work said what you wanted it to say. Did you like it and did you do your very best? If the answer is yes, then it’s the publisher’s loss.

  11. While I obviously prefer a “nice” personal rejection (or even better, a request for the full) over a form rejection, I appreciate the effort it takes to even send a rejection. Some editors/agents don’t bother to send one at all, which bothers me. I feel like I’ve just been left hanging. BTW, thanks for the “pingback” to my blog post!

  12. They will always sting. If they ever don’t, then it’s time to find another profession … The time between ‘ouch’ and ‘meh’ gets shorter.

  13. You’re correct . . . the right person will love your story. The thing I loved about my editor was that she seemed to be more excited about my novel than even I was, lol. Keep the faith! You are an amazing writer, never ever doubt that fact:-)

  14. The generic rejections, or passes as I prefer to call them when no manuscript is involved yet, are tough. There might not be anything wrong with the story. It just might not be a good fit for them at this moment. Unfortunately, that’s the reality of the business we have to deal with if we want to go the traditional route.

    You are a good writer. We know that. And you’ve had several works published now. Keep going, and you’ll find the right home for this story.

  15. Such is the writer’s lot, I’m afraid. There’s so much more competition than we know about, and you never know who else put in for the slot you aimed at. You just have to research markets and try again with a different publisher.

  16. We should allow ourselves a little glumness when a rejection turns up but as you say some can be small nuggets of gold with the ‘why’ it was rejected. Hold on to them and think hard about their viewpoint. Our journey’s are a learning curve after all. I wrote a small piece about rejection here:
    We are strong after that initial tantrum…LOL

  17. I’ve had rejection letters very similar to this one from literary magazines. It is tough to be rejected and to wonder why. Luckily, I kept going and received acceptance letters. The right publishing company is out there, and when it receives your work, you’ll know why that is the one. Thank you for including my earlier post! ~ Rebecca

  18. I’ve had a couple of rejections lately and both gave specific information about why, just a couple of sentences, but enough to make me know what I need to do to change it. It’s immensely helpful. The standard form ones are hard because you don’t know what to do differently next time. I understand they don’t always have time to give a personal response, but when they do it’s hugely valuable.

    By the way, most people get the rejections first before they get any acceptances, you’ve done it the other way round!

  19. Part of the process. I never get gutted anymore.

  20. Thank you for the pinback. And don’t give up :]

  21. I hate the form rejection for the exact reasons above. I have no idea if there is something wrong or if it really wasn’t a good fit. I guess on the positive side they can’t smack down your confidence and ruin your will to keep going… sorry you got one. I am rewriting at the moment so I am not even getting rejections yet.

  22. I’ve had a couple of ‘form’ rejections. Like you, I wanted to know why I was rejected. Then I got to thinking that it wasn’t the place where my story was meant to be. When one door closes, another opens. Just have to keep subbing and eventually, someone will grab.