We've all done it ~ dreamed of telling the uncaring publisher who once rejected our manuscript that is now at the top of the Best Sellers list, "See, I told you I could write!"
Writer's Digest offers a fun twist to the rejection game. They encourage writers to send them their version of an imaginary rejection letter to a famous writer with a famous book. Some letters have been quite clever. This month's spoof was a rejection letter to Charles Dickens, regarding his boring and unrealistic story titled, Our Mutual Friend. The publisher expounded on Dickens' lack of skill and odd use of names and his lack of vocabulary. Oh, and the publisher mentioned he was going out of business! If you are interested in participating in this game, submit your letter via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org "Reject a Hit" should be in the subject line.
I remember in a writing class I took years ago, the professor copied excerpts of famous writers and we critiqued the work. The class as a whole did not think too highly of most of the passages. Then we found out the writers were Hemingway, Steinbeck and a few others I don't recall. We were shocked that these legends had been allowed to get away with sloppy and lazy writing.
If you were to write your own rejection letter regarding your manuscript, what would you write? Would it be the mundane, no thank you at this time, note? Or would you go into detail why you rejected it?
I tried this with my last manuscript. It's hard to self-diagnose why someone does not want your book. The number of pages a publisher wants to examine continues to shrink. It feels like a horse race - something exciting must happen right from the beginning. That something must draw the reader in quickly ... or the rejection hammer comes down. Boom.
Most writers receive more rejection letters than acceptance letters. What can we learn from this? If you wrote a rejection letter about your manuscript ... why would you reject it? What would you tell yourself?
Is it the pace? The characters? Not enough action?
Maybe this exercise will unlock the secret everyone knows but you.
Til next time ~