Rejection letters


Literary agent rejection.They rejected you, huh? Well they rejected me too; a hundred times or more. In fact, I stopped counting a long time ago.

For a writer, especially a fiction writer, rejection letters are the norm rather than the exception. Unless you're really lucky, or exceptionally talented (or a little of both), you're going to regularly have your manuscripts or sample chapters sent back with soulless, heartless slips of paper telling you that: Sorry this is not for us!

Usually, there's another line or two telling you that "this is just one opinion" and that it's a "highly subjective business"; So do try elsewhere!

If you're lucky, or if you've submitted your mss to a sensitive agent or editor, you might get a handwritten line telling you something about why they rejected it.

Nice title and beginning, and clearly you write well, but I'm afraid I wasn't sufficiently excited by this novel.

It's a highly competitive market, and I need to be absolutely certain that a project is exactly right for me. Feel free to submit other material in the future.

There are endless variations. You'll discover them for yourself as your career progresses. What you need to do, aside from consoling your feelings, is to understand why you've been rejected. Here are some of the possible reasons. Grit your teeth.



Want to read more?

There are over 25,000 words of writing tips and advice on my website. I've spent months writing these pages, and years refining them. I'm happy to share my professional knowledge with you. But like everyone else, I need to capitalise on my skills and efforts.


For just 1.99 I'll send you my entire MR EDIT'S WRITING ADVICE FOR AUTHORS as a .pdf file. Just follow the link below, or above, and you'll be taken to PayPal. You don't need an account; just a credit card or a debit card.


You'll generally receive my writing guide within an hour. But occasionally technical glitches from PayPal delay this for up to 24 hours.


Either way, you'll receive 25,000 very helpful words that will make you a better writer, will give you fresh insight into your work, and will improve the chances of a literary agent or publisher accepting your manuscript.



Mr Edit YouTube videos


Meanwhile, here are some of my You Tube videos that might be of interest to you. Hope you enjoy them.

You Tube video for writers and authors


Mr Edit. Let's talk about dialogue




You Tube literary agent video help


Mr Edit. Pitching fiction to a literary agent.




You Tube video - how to write fiction


Mr Edit. 5 Minute Fiction Fix.




You Tube video for authors and novelists


Mr Edit. Let's talk about tautology.





Links for writers


Preditors & Editors. Here's where you can check out the credentials of literary agents and publishers. A must for any writer.


Creative Helps. Helpful resource for the creative community. Articles, links and tips.


Nick Daws' Writing Blog. Lots of useful posts on all aspects of writing, both for print and online, plus a guest post for anyone who wants to make a contribution. Check it out.






Creative writing




Special features


Darley Anderson, literary agent

Darley Anderson, top UK literary agent, on books,
publishing and success

Zo Sharp, thriller writer

Zo Sharp, creator of the

action-packed Charlie Fox series of books

Jeff Kleinman, literary agent

Jeff Kleinman, New York literary agent, talks shop

Creme de la Crime logo

Crme de la Crime:

An interview with

Lynne Patrick,

publisher and managing editor of a smallerbut


publishing house.

Submissions tips


Tip 1

Try "angling" the synopsis from the viewpoint of other characters. For example, Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes books could be stories about Dr Watson as much as Holmes himself. Therefore, you could, in theory, make either character the protagonist (hero). At the very least, it might help you turn the spotlight on your other characters to see just how strong, or how weak, they are. A really good novel might well have a number of characters who could each play the lead. That's what helps make soap operas so popular; everyone's a hero. And a villain.


Tip 2

In your synopsis, always reveal the ending. The temptation is to maintain the suspense so that the agent or editor feels the tension. But professionals want to see what the pay-off is before they spend the next week hacking through your MS. Be warned.


Tip 3

Remember that "theme" is important. Jaws is about a big fish. But it's also about obsession. Or, from Chief Brody's point of view, about dedication. The theme of your novel may not be obvious. But there's usually one buried there someplace. Better still, of course, that you wrote the novel around a theme rather than the other way around. The theme of my novel is lust. Or revenge. Or human fallibility.

The big fish stuff may not be as important as you think.


Tip 4

Double-space the synopsis to make it easily readable and digestible. Make sure you include a reasonably accurate word count of your novel (within, say, 1000 words). Make it clear that your synopsis is a synopsis (i.e. put that right at the top somewhere). Don't bother with things like: All rights reserved. Or copyright. Or watch it! It sounds unprofessional. Just start from a level of trust and try and maintain it throughout.


Tip 5

Don't include a sheet of paper with little tick-boxes asking the agent or editor to put a cross or a tick against style, content, dialogue, etc
(I know someone who did that, and it didn't get me very far).


Tip 6

Don't abuse an agent or editor after a rejection (voodoo dolls are optional). Just be professional. If they don't like your book, move on. Eventually you'll find someone who sees immediately that you're the new Shakespeare.


Tip 7

Check the spelling.


Tip 8

Don't give up.


Tip 9

Don't give up.


Tip 10

Don't even think about giving up.



Other agents and editors worth pitching

(Check for yourself who they're currently with. Things change rapidly)


Simon Trewin used to be at PFD. Now he's with United Agents. Simon carries a lot of weight in the business and looks for original and inventive books. Talk straight with Simon and pitch hard.


Andrew Lownie wasn't taking on new authors the last time I checked (check for yourself). But he has a good track record and plenty of books to his credit in both the fiction and non-fiction markets. Worth approaching.


Alice Lutyens at Curtis Brown. Alice looked at some stuff of mine and gave me some valuable criticism. Her response was fast and courteous.
I'll pitch again with my next project.



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