Rejection Letters. Just Goes to Show . . .

D.B. Pacini, author of youth/YA fantasy novel, The Loose End of the Rainbow, soon to be published by Singing Moon Press, sent me these rejection letters from her files. They show how arbitrary this business is, and should give aspiring authors hope in a roundabout way. I am publishing the letters with Pacini’s  permission.

From an agent:  I’m not available because I’m getting married and I’m too busy for new clients. Your novel, Emma’s Love Letters is too short for my consideration anyway.  Increase the word count by 25,000 words.  Good luck.

From a publisher:  Thanks for your query.  Emma’s Love Letters is a bit longer than novels we publish.  Can you shorten it by 5,000 words?  Your novel, The Loose End of the Rainbow is much too long for our consideration, especially since it is the first in a trilogy.

From an agent: I apologize; I’m not available to unpublished authors.  I only accept new clients that already have published success. Your novel, The Loose End of the Rainbow is interesting.  Unfortunately, it is the first in a trilogy and I don’t like the working title you have for the second novel.  I wish you the best.

From an agent:  Dear Ms. Pacini, Regarding your question about titles for your novels I must say that the last thing that matters at this point is what your titles are.  I believe you will find that publishers often change titles for numerous reasons.  Don’t be married to a title. 

From My “Dud Agent” List: 

            At one point I decided to email agents and ask if they were accepting queries because a high number were not. Most agents have explicit query instructions on their websites. It takes time to query precisely as an agent wishes and it’s disappointing to receive a quick response that the agent is not accepting queries.  

            An agent responded to my email that asked if she was accepting queries.  She curtly told me to follow the query instructions on her website. I carefully followed the elaborate instructions. One minute after I emailed my query she sent me a “Dear Author” email saying she is not accepting queries at this time. 

            Fortunately, most agents are not this petty. There are undesirable or disreputable agents out there for many reasons.  Authors must be careful. You want an agent that will love your work, an agent that will develop a mutually respectful relationship with you. Always research, be smart. Securing an exceptional agent is as important as writing an exceptional book.

6 Responses to “Rejection Letters. Just Goes to Show . . .”

  1. otherlisa Says:

    Wow! An agent rejected a book because of the title?!?! Unbelievable!

  2. joylene Says:

    I had an agent once describe her progress before and after her hysterectomy. At the end of 2 pages of that, she said had to raise her reading fees and would I send money along with my first three chapters.

    I decided not to.

  3. Suzanne Francis Says:

    Agents seem to be the worst at sending soulless replies. I once sent out a whole raft of queries that were met with “Dear Author” form letters. The nicest response I got was a quick scrawl on the margin of my letter from an agent in San Diego, wishing me luck with my writing. If I ever make it big I am going to write and thank her for the encouragement. 🙂

  4. D.B. Pacini Says:

    OtherLisa, Yes—I was pretty stunned. I know the title was not the only issue, but the fact that it was at all threw me for a loop. It never occurred to me that a “working title” could be a “deal breaker” because I thought titles were often negotiable for a number of reasons. Now, after the number of queries I’ve sent, I’m rarely surprised by the responses I receive. DB

    Joylene, That agent I haven’t encountered, at least not yet, LOL! DB

    Pat, I had an agent tell me that she thought my name (Pacini) was “speled” wrong. Pacini was included in three places; I suppose she thought I “misspeled” it three times. (Interesting school.) We have to smile, it keeps us sane! BTW, thanks for this. I greatly appreciate it and look forward to developing new writer-friends. DB

    Suzanne, I’ve kept most of my responses from literary agents and all of my rejection letters. I have the names/addresses for several agents saved in a special file folder. I thanked them for their kindness when they gave it and I will definitely mention them when my books are successful. I think they deserve being thanked publicly. So many agents have not given my queries any response and several have been deliberately curt or rude. The gems are those that took one extra minute to be polite and to offer a bit of encouragement. DB

  5. ~Sia~ Says:

    Too funny.

    I remember one I queried, oh some time ago, who told me he doesn’t like baggage with characters but likes them simple, clean and happy. hmmm, what baggage. OHhhh.. you mean the internal and external conflict. Gee I thought you had to have that. But oh well, I didn’t write a Pollyanna character, I never do.

    Some responses received by any would be good fodder for a comedy.

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