I got a rejection letter that said something like, "I like your manuscript, but you deserve someone who's more enthusiastic about it. Best wishes placing it at another publisher."At this point, I don't care how enthusiastic the editor is! I just want the damn thing published. I kind of want to write back telling this person that if she likes it at all, that's good enough for me!
Do you guys want to take this, or shall I?
This is yet another reason to totally ignore rejection letters. You don't have to worry about getting slapped with the clue stick.
Editors are caught between people with delicate feelings who will be irate if we don't say things in the nicest, most circuitous way possible, and people who can't read between the lines when things are phrased that way. (Not to mention the people who have delicate feelings and can't read between the lines.) We try to take a middle road that is polite but clear, but no matter what we write, someone is going to be pissing cactus.
The sentiment expressed above is code for "I liked your manuscript, but not enough to spend hours upon hours of my time on it over the next year and a half."
Perhaps the readers of this blog could help me put together a little glossary of phrases editors use and what they really mean. Oh, this'll be fun. I know a bunch of you save your rejection letters, if only to scrape your boots on when you come into the house. Want to send me your favorite excerpts? I'll take submissions until the end of the day Friday. And it'll be so interesting to see what my counterparts are writing!