Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Personal 'No-Comment': In Which We Need Some Better Terms for Rejections

Let's say you've revised many, many times and you've begun the process of sending out your manuscript. You get one personal rejection from an editor of a big house and one personal rejection from an agent, neither of which explain why they've turned it down. The editor says it was a pleasure to consider the work.
At this point, do you keeping trying for the big leagues or go for the smaller presses? Or return to the revising process?
First of all, you're rethinking your approach after two rejections?! Readers, please help this sweet, demented person.

Secondly, unhelpful, non-specific rejections are not exactly what I'd call "personal".

But we do need better names for these things. Readers, will you help me name the following rejection categories, please? Points for imagination and humor, but also points for clarity and usability.

Rejection Categories:
1: no response or a pre-printed rejection
2: a rejection letter with your name on it, but no meaningful feedback
3: a rejection letter with your name on it and meaningful feedback
4: a rejection letter with your name on it and meaningful feedback and an invitation to resubmit

71 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh, dear.

Sweetie, whoever you are. Listen up. DO NOT query editors and agents at the same time. Just don't. If you get an agent interested in your work and then tell her you've already sent the ms to 15 publishing houses on your own she WILL NOT SIGN YOU.

An agent likes a book that has a clean slate, one that has not been "shopped" to editors by the author. Don't fret, you've only sent it to one editor, that is not a big deal.


Here's my Rejection Categories List:
1: no response or a pre-printed rejection

= the agent is up to her eyeballs in queries and does not give a shit who you are, what you wrote, or if you are the second coming. She may be a bitch, or just simply busy. Don't take it personally.

2: a rejection letter with your name on it, but no meaningful feedback

= this means an unpaid intern has probably perused your query, and it didn't jump out at her. Maybe they already represent this type of book, maybe they think it sucks, but the intern is young, and hopeful, and unjaded by the industry. So she slaps your name (it might even be spelled correctly -- bonus points for that) and shleps to the nearest Starbucks, patting herself on the back.

3: a rejection letter with your name on it and meaningful feedback

= surprise! the agent/editor has personally read your query/partial, and thinks you have promise, or at least the book does. But alas, for reasons you will never fully understand, your work failed to knock her to the ground in spontaneous orgasm. She recognizes you have talent, or that the book is good and wants to encourage you, but she still doesn't want that thing you call a manuscript. Cursing/tears ensue.

4: a rejection letter with your name on it and meaningful feedback and an invitation to resubmit

= Yes! What you hoped for. The agent/editor is impressed with you, wants you to carefully consider her ideas and apply them to your rewrite, not exactly the way she's stated neccessarily, but in the "spirit" in which they've been stated. (easier said than done). At this point you cry, drive fast on the highway blasting your fav music and then pray like a son-of-a-bitch that the agent/editor will recognize your brilliance.

Please don't stop after two rejects. Two is nothing. Ten is nothing. Make your query the best you can, go on sites, go to Query Shark.com. Do not give up.

Editorial Anonymous said...

Actually, I hoped for pithy terms for the different types of rejections, rather than separating them into 'personal' and 'not'.

But thanks for making me laugh out loud!

CJ Omololu said...

Can't help with these categories, but my favorite has always been the term for a swift rejection of an email submission: eject.

Anonymous said...

(I'm the first Anon)

God, you're sort of picky this morning, EA...

All right, Ill try again...

1 The not a chance reject.
2 The we're only pretending you are a human being reject.
3 The we don't like you That much reject.
4. The dear God I hope this writer isn't a nutjob invitation.

Editorial Anonymous said...

Picky is in my job description. ;)

Jean Wogaman said...

1. The black hole rejection.
2. The agent/editor-has-an-assistant rejection.
3. The hey!-the-agent/editor-really-read-it rejection.
4. The beginning of something beautiful?

Dana Strotheide said...

1. The Snork (as in, HA! seriously? You think we would even look at this piece of...)
2. The Smirk (as in, some intern smiling as she laughs at your delusion)
3. The Sigh (as in, the editor wishes it were just a little better, just a little different or sent at a different time)
4. The Smile (as in, the editor's faith in humanity and writers is somewhat boosted.
:)
Bonus points for alliteration? ;)

Sarah Miller said...

Dana -- you've got my vote.

Sarah Laurenson said...

I thought of black hole for the first one as well, jeanie.

1: no response or a pre-printed rejection - Slush Flush
2: a rejection letter with your name on it, but no meaningful feedback - Learner Interner
3: a rejection letter with your name on it and meaningful feedback - Unique Critique
4: a rejection letter with your name on it and meaningful feedback and an invitation to resubmit - Deadline

Kristi Holl said...

Congrats to Sarah and Dana--I couldn't beat that! Before I ever submitted anything in the early years, I made a list of ten publishers (book or magazine) that I felt my manuscript would fit. It's hard to make that list after getting rejected--but if you have the list made already, you can turn around and send it back out the next day, whether you're full of angst or not.
Kristi Holl
Writer's First Aid blog

Chris Eldin said...

Blind date analogies

1: no response or a pre-printed rejection
Editor is at a restaurant, climbing out the bathroom window



2: a rejection letter with your name on it, but no meaningful feedback

Editor is sitting at table, nodding politely, but checking out the hot babe two tables over.

3: a rejection letter with your name on it and meaningful feedback

Editor is paying for dinner but not dessert.


4: a rejection letter with your name on it and meaningful feedback and an invitation to resubmit

Editor wants to date you and the hot babe, and is willing to pay for dinner plus dessert.

Kimbra Kasch said...

1) Wham Bam, TY Ma'am
2) Dear John
3) We're so sorry, Uncle Albert
4) XXOOO's, Let's try to work this out.

Anonymous said...

What about the glowing rejection -- the one that raves about your writing and your exciting plot and exotic setting, and then says, "I may kick myself for this, but I'm going to pass. I'm certain another agent will want it."

Laurie Wallmark said...

Rejection #3 =
It's not you, it's me.

Anonymous said...

Like

1. Grody

2. Bogus

3. Bonus

4. Gnarly

Dude.

Ebony McKenna. said...

I love these.

All I can think of are comparisons with dangerous Australian animals.

1 is the irikanji jellyfish - instant death.

2 is the dingo - it's just eaten your baby.

3 is the redback spider - hurts like crazy, but you might survive.

4 is the boxing kangaroo - a bit scary and overwhelming at first, but if you take care and do some fancy footwork, you might win the next round.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to your site! I enjoy reading your articles.

I have a book called The Keys to Success: 21 Things Every Teen Should Know. It is a unique guide for teenagers, providing tools aimed specifically at them for this time in their lives to help them attain success for the rest of their lives.

Was wondering if you would be interested in exchanging links with my site. Since have the same site niche, it will benefit our Google PageRanks and at the same time increase traffic.

Title: The Keys to Success
URL: http://jijol.com/

Thanks,
Joseph

The Keys to Success: 21 Things Every Teen Should Know

B. Nagel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
B. Nagel said...

As Elvis Songs:
1: no response or a pre-printed rejection - Heartbreak Hotel
2: a rejection letter with your name on it, but no meaningful feedback - Return To Sender
3: a rejection letter with your name on it and meaningful feedback - Love Me Tender
4: a rejection letter with your name on it and meaningful feedback and an invitation to resubmit - Viva Las Vegas

Anonymous said...

hey b nagel - those elvis songs are cool

Anonymous said...

Can we please add 5: a rejection letter with your name on it and meaningful feedback and and invitation to submit SOMETHING ELSE.

Stephanie J. Blake said...

Decide to query agents or publishers. Not both.

All of the rejections are forms. They all mean nothing, except: NEXT? The only thing that means anything is a YES.

But, do feel warm and fuzzy about #4. A rejection letter with your name on it and meaningful feedback and an invitation to resubmit is a good step in the right direction.

An offer to see a revision is even better.

But none of it means anything until someone gives you some money.

Adrian said...

A girl's response to several dating candidates:

1: no response or a pre-printed rejection.

The Prison Stripes Rejection.

You are wearing prison stripes and showing off the tattoo on your bicep, which appears to be a dragon eating a bunny in a leather jacket. You may be a sweet marshmellow inside, who will one day sweep me off my feet, but at the moment, I am hoping that you lose my address, think that I moved out of country, and please oh please god, don’t stalk and kill me.

2: a rejection letter with your name on it, but no meaningful feedback.

The Mom’s Basement Rejection.

You seem nice, but I see myself eating a lot of pizza in your mom’s basement, driving around in my car, and teaching you how to undo certain important pieces of clothing. Call me again in a few year’s, after some other girl has given you an education.

3: a rejection letter with your name on it and meaningful feedback

The Plaid Jacket Rejection.

Wow, tall, dark eyes, nice smile. My mom would love you. But that’s partly because because your outfit looks like it might be from her era. You have a plaid jacket, white socks, and pants that end at your ankles. My friends would laugh themselves silly if I showed up with you dressed like that. But, maybe, with a little work?

I’ll give you a style tip or two, but a date is out of the question until you prove that you can dress the part.

4: a rejection letter with your name on it and meaningful feedback and an invitation to resubmit

The Tom Cruise Rejection.

Oh boy, you’ve got nice eyes. And arms. And chest. The leather jacket isn’t normally my thing, but you’re selling me on it. Where do you work? Do you like puppies? A date is a given here, but I’m trying to decide whether or not to wear the good lingerie….

Anonymous said...

1 - Diarrhea--get it out of the system as quickly as possible.

2 - Head cold--just a drag.

3 - Mild indigestion--maybe it's worth it for somebody, but it won't work for this agency without some Prevacid...

4 - Hiccups--drink some water, hold your breath, stand on your head, and we may just have a deal.

Alicia Padrón said...

Dana, loved yours. :o)
Ok, I'm going to give it a try.

1- No way José!

2- José, no way..

3- José, still no way.. but thanks!

4- Ok José, you can write. Now write something I like! :o)

Liana Brooks said...

The we're-not-publishing-at-this-time rejection that always makes me wonder when they plan to publish it.

The we're-not-sure-if-we-want-to-say-yes-or-no rejection, because they need more time to think maybe? After three months?

The form-rejection-with-note-hand-written
Kind of cute... but not so helpful.

The I-thought-it-was-a-rejection rejection that gets you and angry follow-up e-mail from the editor demanding why you haven't sent in the consent form and the edits the demanded so they can publish you already.

Anonymous said...

Well put, Colorado Writer. Really well put.

Oh, have I been there.

Stephanie J. Blake said...

I didn't follow EA's directions about naming the forms, but someone had to say something.

:)

No means No.

Anonymous said...

And "yes" asks when can you start? And you say, "yesterday."

Anonymous said...

As an intern a few years ago, I was responsible for more Snorks and Smirks than I care to admit.

Dal Jeanis said...

Number 1 means the place is too disorganized to be worth your time. Collect 1 point and save your postage next time.

Number 2 is a rejection. Collect 1 point.

Number 3 is a helpful rejection. Collect 5 points and consider the suggestions closely.

Number 4 is a "booya" rejection. Collect 10 points and consider the suggestions very closely.


All of the above, get the manuscript back in the mail asap, with changes as necessary.

Rack up as many points as you can.

Anonymous said...

Glad to have stopped by your site for this entertaining commentary!

1: no response or a pre-printed rejection
Nice try, give up.
2: a rejection letter with your name on it, but no meaningful feedback
Checkmate.
3: a rejection letter with your name on it and meaningful feedback
Do not pass go, do not collect $200.
4: a rejection letter with your name on it and meaningful feedback and an invitation to resubmit
You may proceed to Round 2.

Christine Tripp said...

1) HELL NOOOOO!
2) NOOooo!
3) no.
4) You never k"no"w.

I have to add that today I had a DHL courier come to my door with my returned dummy that I had sent to Scholastic US. Of course it encluded a form letter "dear author" explaining they will not even read unsolisited manuscripts. What I DID think was classy of them was, though all I could enclose with my reply envolope was an IRC, they sent it via courier, which had to have cost more then the IRC I had enclosed. So, kudos to Scholastic (even if I don't love the new policy:)

Anonymous said...

I love this industry but I don't like this. I don't like it at all.

And I miss the old EA posts.

But I can't post anymore. :{

Unknown said...

This is a great website, so many people need this information, thanks for providing it. I love your color scheme too!

Jin
www.imarksweb.org

Unknown said...

I say many thanks to the father of the website admin I read this, because at this website I know a lot of information information that I did not know before his

Obat Kanker Sumsum Tulang
Obat Penyakit Kolera
Obat Untuk Ibu Hamil
Obat Penyakit Iritasi Lambung
Obat Alami Kista Bartholin

Wales Publications said...

Wales Publications is a research publishing solution provide best Best Publication Services in UK
in all issues from research to the journal publication are catering in your discipline based on your requirements.

Cleaning Company Dubai UAE said...

Nowadays it can be difficult for many to put in home cleaning of their busy timetable. They accomplish want their house to always be clean continuously, but the catch is finding some time to accomplish the cleanup. Fortunately, there are several cleaning solutions offering his or her service on the public. There are several things that particular has to be aware of when searching for a service provider to perform the cleanup. cleaning services abu dhabi

best hair salon in abu dhabi said...

LOCAL is an independent life-style concept store that combines a specialty cafe, men's barbershop and an exclusive sneaker & street wear consignment store barber in abu dhabi

Custom web app development Louisiana | Novateus said...

Novateus is innovative top custom software development company that helps organizations design and develop UI UX,custom mobile web applications

Unknown said...

This one-stop premium quality and modern design Leather Jackets Collection has grown out of proportion in no matter of time given that customers love our superb service quality

Matt Pablo said...

We are a visible and Web Development Services in Karachi, Pakistan leading to a considerable increase of sales, profitability, and cost efficiency for our clients.

Blogger said...

Our vision is to become the leader in health and engineering as a consultant. If you want quality healthcare and engineering facilities, contact us today at Hospital interior

Blogger said...

Average Garage door repair Waldorf MD costs can range between $49 and $799. It is truly dependent on various factors such as the extent of the damage

Blogger said...

Next Day Garage Door has been in the garage door repair Washington DC and installation business for over eighteen years.

Blogger said...

if you are a fitness enthusiastic then Follow these famous female fitness models to get inspired.

FoodCrowd | monthly food delivery dubai said...

Food Crowd brings the freshest food directly from farms to your plate, giving the UAE community access to the best quality products being the best Organic Chicken Breast al ain

FoodCrowd | monthly food delivery dubai said...

Food Crowd brings the freshest food directly from farms to your plate, giving the UAE community access to the best quality products being the best Organic Chicken Breast al ain

Combined Pumps said...

Combined Pumps have been in the chemical injection and transfer pump business for more than 20
years. Operating low volume chemical pumps in our manufacturing facility in the heart of Dyce Aberdeen we have been servicing the Oil & Gas

Barbara John said...

Best platform to buy Sharingan in USA is non other than Tetris Shop, choice of more than thousand users in USA

social media marketing said...

Incredible! This blog looks just like my old one! It’s on a
totally different topic but it has pretty much the same
page layout and design. Great choice of colors!

Quickbooks error said...

Do you know QuickBooks has a tool QuickBooks Tool Hub that can solve almost all kind of errors that are related to QuickBooks. you can download QuickBooks File Doctor also for errors related to company file and network issues.

Barbara John said...

Buy Latest Computer Accessories in US at none other than Tetris Shop, choice of more than thousand users in USA

Jacob Weber said...

Business Leads Generation offers the most effective qualified leads for MCA the merchant cash advance leads.

yanmaneee said...

curry 6
golden goose outlet
supreme clothing
off white hoodie
off white jordan 1
supreme clothing
kyrie 6 shoes
jordan 1
supreme clothing
jordan shoes

Dial a Maid said...

For those who don’t prefer to clean a windows on your, you might avail home window cleaning expert services from DIALAMAID. They've the perfect professionals plus skills to get sparkling the windows. Having said that, let’s check the way to wash a person's windows similar to a pro. babysitting services dubai

Unknown said...

The Move Me Professional Movers and Packers in Dubai. Contact us today for professional movers in Dubai. Make your move stress-free with The Move Me movers and packers in Dubai, UAE.
moving and packing service in dubai

Motherhood University said...

Good Blog Post.
Best University for Paramedical in Roorkee

Best University for Legal Studies in Uttarakhand

Motherhood University said...

I found a Very interesting post so keep posting it.
Best University for Pharmacy in Uttarakhand

Best University for MBA in Roorkee

Motherhood University said...

Best University for Teacher Education in Uttarakhand

totosafeguide said...

Your style is so unique compared to many other people. Thank you for publishing when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just make this bookmarked. Feel free to visit my website; 토토사이트

casinositelink said...

Hey! This post could not be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing! Feel free to visit my website; 카지노사이트

oncasinositenet said...

Excellent site you’ve got here.. It’s hard to find high-quality writing like yours nowadays. I seriously appreciate individuals like you! Take care!! Feel free to visit my website; 카지노사이트

betmantotopro said...

Your content is nothing short of brilliant in many ways. I think this is engaging and eye-opening material. Thank you so much for caring about your content and your readers Feel free to visit my website; 배트맨토토

casinositewiki said...

This article was written by a real thinking writer without a doubt. I agree many of the with the solid points made by the writer. I’ll be back day in and day for further new updates. Feel free to visit my website; 카지노사이트

emarket said...

Thanks for your marvelous posting! I really enjoyed reading it, you could be a great author. I will be sure to bookmark your blog and definitely will come back in the foreseeable future. I want to encourage you to continue your great posts, have a nice afternoon! Digital Marketing Courses in Bangalore with Placement

Digisol Hub said...

DigisolHub
Digisol Hub is a Digital Marketing & Tech. Company, that provides solutions regarding website development, SEO, Social Media Marketing, Google Ads, and Graphics designing, App development, Software development, Website Development. We just want to solve the problems of the people by using the right digital marketing strategy and give them Value so that they can build their business in the Online world.

WebSouls PK said...

We are Pakistan’s leading Web Hosting Provider – trusting your site to us means a powerful online presence with an uptime that meets all your expectations, guaranteed. We Provide very reasonable Packages locally as well as for our Foreigner Customers.
Best SEO Services in Pakistan
Best Web Hosting Services in Lahore

Anonymous said...

kyrie 5 spongebob
supreme clothing
giannis shoes
kyrie 7 shoes
off white shoes
curry 7 shoes
kobe 9
off white clothing
kyrie 7
birkin bag

totocannon.com said...

I simply stumbled upon your web site and in accession capital to assert that I get actually enjoyed account your weblog. Feel free to visit my website;>> totocannon

Ryan Cooper said...

Hello I’m Ryan Cooper a professional accountant contact me for any queries www.sendspace.com/file/o8mq1q
show.zohopublic.com/publish/5p24z00c202bda0d14860b3a14e0eee33577c
sound-directory.com/weblink/how-do-i-solve-quickbooks-error-1911/
Hello I’m Ryan Cooper a professional accountant contact me for any queries www.sendspace.com/file/o8mq1q
show.zohopublic.com/publish/5p24z00c202bda0d14860b3a14e0eee33577c
sound-directory.com/weblink/how-do-i-solve-quickbooks-error-1911/