Sunday, 6 April 2008

Rejection Letters

So, you’ve written your novel and polished it until it shines, and the time has come to find an Agent – or rather the time has come to start collecting rejection letters. Now I reckon that rejection letters can be divided into four main categories as follows:

Type 1 – The Nil Return – This is where your submission vanishes into a black hole, never to be heard of again.

Type 2 – The Form Reject – This is the commonest type of rejection letter because most Agents are far too swamped to provide anything more. Sometimes this is a photocopied letter, or maybe just a card or a slip of paper.

Type 3 – The Pseudo Personal Response – This type of letter traps many an unwary writer into thinking they’ve had a personal response from the Agent. The letter is addressed to you and even mentions the title of the book in the text, and the wording appears to be personal – but it isn’t! The clues to look out for are the general nature of the letter with no mention of any specific reason why they rejected you. It will generally go something along these lines

“I really enjoyed reading “The Frustrated Writer” and although there was much about your work to admire, in today’s competitive market I just can’t take on anything I’m not 100% sure of, and so, on this occasion I must decline.”

Type 4 – The Genuine Personal Response – These are the real gems. They contain a specific comment about you work, and maybe even a constructive criticism or indication as to why it is being rejected. They usually mean that the Agent likes your writing, because they’ve taken the time to give a comment, but remember, it’s still just one person’s opinion, although if you start to get more than one saying the same thing then perhaps it’s time to take notice.

So to anyone reading this blog who is just about to start submitting/collecting rejections – take heart – I’ve yet to meet a writer who hasn’t.


  1. Hi Kate,

    Have you seen this scary site:

  2. Cheers for that Crowe, there are some good ones there :-)


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