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From an agent: I apologize; I’m not available to unpublished authors.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.