Hello, [my trilogy] was just turned down by deseret publishing on my first book of this project. I’m 75% done with the second book and will then immediately complete the third of the trilogy. There has never been books like these as they are unique and experientially based. Can you help me?

It is not at all uncommon to be rejected on your first book and by the first publisher you contact. Don’t give up.

The most common reason books are rejected is that they are not a good fit for the publisher. Read the publisher’s submission guidelines carefully. Make sure the publisher you are submitting to is interested in your genre and topic. Make sure they publish things similar, but not the same as what you’re submitting.

The second most common reason for rejection is that the book is just not quite publication ready. Get some critiques on your manuscript. Join a critique group with experienced writers. Go to some conferences that offer critique sessions. Make sure your book is as good as it can possibly be.

The third most common reason for rejection is your query letter isn’t quite up to what it should be. Saying things like, “There has never been books like these as they are unique and experientially based,” is not really very helpful. Unique how? What specifically do you meant by “experientially based”? Is that experiential component going to add to the cost of creating the book? That might be an issue (or not).

And I can guarantee, the publisher/editor/agent is going to have seen something like it before.

Do your research and keep submitting. Good luck!

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Dissecting a Rejection

September 10, 2010 · 4 comments

First of all, thank you endlessly for sharing your knowledge with those us who are just starting out and would not have a snowballs chance in you-know-where of succeeding without a little help. [You’re welcome.]

My question involves dissecting a rejection. Are rejection letters by the publisher typically done personally or is there a company form letter specially written to sound soothing and kind to the poor sad sap at the other end of the .com? I want to believe they were really talking to me when they said “It is evident that you have invested a great deal of time and effort developing your story,” and “We hope you will consider us again for your future projects,” but my inner schizophrenic is laughing at me and calling me naive.

My initial query and first 3 chapters were submitted by email as requested on the submissions form so I received an email response, as was expected, in case that helps answer the question. Thank you for your time!

Most companies use form rejections. It’s easier for everyone involved. They may have a couple of variations to the basic rejection that they use depending on the reasons the manuscript was rejected, but pretty much, unless their comments reference specific and unique portions of your manuscript, assume it’s a form letter and MOVE ON.

If there are specific and unique comments (such as, “I loved your main character, Jane Doe, but I really think she’d be more likeable if she wasn’t covered in warts…”), then pay attention to those suggestions and consider making changes to your manuscript. However, if an editor has taken the time to add specific and unique comments, they’ve probably also requested that you resubmit after making changes.

If there are no specific and unique comments and no request to resubmit the same manuscript to them after re-writes, then assume the rejection is a form letter and MOVE ON.

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Writing Tip Tuesday: Dealing with Rejection

August 25, 2009

Rejection happens. It happened yesterday. 29 out of 33 stories didn’t win the Christmas Story contest. Some of you authors have been writing and submitting long enough that not winning is likely only a blip in your consciousness. Others of you are brand new to this and you’re likely having an entire range of feelings. […]

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Rejection at Committee

June 26, 2008

When a book makes it all the way to committee, and then is rejected, what are some of the factors that play into that rejection? (You may have already talked about this) I have sort of talked about it here—see last paragraph. Most often, it’s a marketing issue—we don’t think we can sell enough copies, […]

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Branded for Life?

March 6, 2008

So if you take notes on submissions received and say I sent something to you when I first started writing and you put in your notes, “Writing needs work (or it sucks) or whatever” Does that mean I’m branded for life with that publisher? I think they would still look at the work but would […]

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Rejection Etiquette

March 5, 2008

I have a burning question that I would be most grateful if you would help me with. I recently received a polite rejection letter, in which I was told in sum: “We are very selective, your submission came close but not close enough, feel free to keep us in mind with future projects.” I originally […]

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Rejection Ratio

February 12, 2008

What’s the percentage of rejections to acceptances at your company each month or year? We accept less than 10% of submissions. That rate has been fairly constant. Most of our rejections are due to the quality of writing or inappropriate subject matter for our company. If there are other publishers reading this and would like […]

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Rejected Again

July 18, 2007

LDSPub, Let’s say you request a full. The author sends it to you and for whatever reason you reject it. How often (on a requested ms.) do you do a form rejection as opposed to stating the reasons for rejecting? If you sent a standard form and an author asked for more information so they […]

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July 16, 2007

What’s the number one reason why you reject manuscripts? There is only one reason I reject manuscripts—I don’t think I can sell the book. Only a publisher would make that distinction, but it’s an important one to understand. It’s the reason why great manuscripts are sometimes rejected, while lesser manuscripts are sometimes accepted. I will […]

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Phone, E-mail or Snail Mail

July 5, 2007

If you decide to publish a manuscript, do you email, snail mail, or call with an acceptance? If you decide to reject it, is it always with a form letter? Does it depend on the manuscript? Does every publisher do it differently? I always call with an acceptance. If I can’t reach the author by […]

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Can I Just Rant?

May 23, 2007

Every once in awhile I get so frustrated I just have to blow off some steam!! And since I can’t take it out on the person causing the frustration, you guys get to hear about it. This is for all authors, especially those writing non-fiction and using quotes: It is NOT my job to teach […]

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Six of One…

May 11, 2007

If you had to choose between a manuscript that had a great story but was poorly written (needed a lot of editing) and a manuscript that was written beautifully but the story was mediocre, which would you choose? Neither. Because I wouldn’t be able to sell either one (as is) and it would be stupid […]

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Publishers Directories

April 18, 2007

Is there a directory available that lists publishers and editors with their home phone numbers? I’d really like to call a few and ask them why they rejected my manuscript. Thank you so much. Yes. It’s 1-800-I’ll never publish your book in a million years! Although the person who sent this question intended it to […]

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Reader Comments

April 17, 2007

I have heard that you can request readers’ comments from publishers after you have submitted a manuscript to them. What is the best way to do this? In the query letter? A note after you have been rejected? You can request them. You may or may not get them. Depends on the company policy. Some […]

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