Rejecting Rejection: An Exercise in Therapeutic Correspondence

Wednesday, January 07, 2015
Dear Agent,
Thank you for sending me your letter.

While the book that I submitted to you is unpublished, I have over 425 sales to my credit. Because of this, I feel that your letter, wishing me luck in my quest to become a published author, would be much better suited to an author who is, as yet, unpublished.

Thank you for thinking of me and I wish you luck in placing your letter elsewhere.

A Published Author

Dear Editor,
While I appreciate the work that went into your correspondence, a bit more effort is required for it to truly shine.

I agree with you that the manuscript I sent you was too long and the characters were too old to be in a picture book. Picture books are seldom over 700 words and my manuscript clocks in at 10,600 words. Picture book characters are often preschoolers or kindergartners. These characters are second graders. Clearly this piece is unsuited to the picture book format.

Fortunately, both the length of the manuscript and the character age are well within the norms of a chapter book, the form that this story takes as stated in my cover letter. You might also have noticed that you received the first three chapters, chapters also being a common chapter book feature and virtually unknown within picture books.

I cannot help but feel that a review of the various types of children’s books would benefit your professional development.

Wishing you luck with your efforts,
The Author of a Chapter Book

Dear Editor,
I regret to inform you that I cannot accept your series of letters at this time. In your first letter, you rejected pages 2 through 4 of my early reader. In the second letter of your series, you rejected page 1.

The main action in the third letter was a rejection of page 5.

At this time, I have no clear idea how you plan to end your series. Will you accept or reject pages 6 through 10? Without knowing the conclusion, I do not feel that I can make an offer on your work at this time.

If you decide to revise, paying particular attention to the ending, I would be willing to take another look at your work.

The Author of Pages 1 Through 10

Write and submit your work and eventually you are going to get a rejection letter that makes you shake your head. I've had letters that get my name wrong, that reject a source from my bibliography instead of the manuscript that I submitted, and more.

I've learned to laugh at the irony, but I have a confession to make. Sometimes I reject their rejections. I would never send one of these letters, but writing them lets me blow off a little steam.


Sue Bradford Edwards teaches our course, Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults.  A section started on January 5th.


Unknown said...

Hi Sue - I really loved your post, and found myself laughing out loud! What a great way to take your power back and shake off the disappointment of those rejection letters. You certainly put a new spin on things. Thanks for sharing!

Sioux Roslawski said...

Very snarky, Sue. I especially loved the last one. We have to laugh...otherwise we'll sob.

Margo Dill said...

This is the best post ever. I LOVE IT! :) I think I am going to do this next time I feel frustrated, even if I'm not justified!

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