Sunday, January 2, 2011

Re-e-e Jected!

Author's foreword: This post is not meant to discourage anyone. This is merely to give those of you who come to my blog and are part of the writing community, a look into a portion—just a portion—of what I have gone through (like every writer out there), trying to get a publisher, or an agent.

After so many years after, and now after having self-publishing my first book, Spell of the Black Unicorn, then having now published with a micro publisher, Vampire Ascending (2010), and Vampire's Trill (2011), I can look back remember and it doesn't hurt any more. Plus, I can now poke fun at them. Come along and laugh with me!


Please Note: All queries/rejections were for my first fantasy book in the new millennium: Spell of the Black Unicorn I have no idea how many books I have written over the 30+ years to this point, but I still have boxes of mss., and have destroyed countless others from my very first years of trying to write.
All comments in italics are mine, and I take complete and total responsibility of them, and had a damned good time in doing it too.

#1 Rejection—Dated January of 2006
“Dear Ms. Bell,

“I very much appreciate your thinking of my agency with your recent query. Alas, however, my current plate is completely overflowing and I'm not able to take on any new clients at the present time.

“I'm very sorry and wish you all the best.” Susan Herner Rights Agency Inc. {I hate being passed up for gravy and mashed potatoes}

#2 Rejection—2/11/06: Stamped on the bottom of my query letter:
“I'm afraid your material doesn't suit our current needs and/or interests. STERNIG & BYRNE LITERARY AGENCY Written in ink: Sorry. My client list is currently quiet full JB” {I wondered how much they paid someone to stamp this on query letters and wondered if they had openings}

#3 Rejection—2-11-06:form letter“I was delighted to receive your query, and I have given it my most careful attention.

“Alas – and much as I hate to relay the news thru {yes, this is how it was spelled, if I had misspelled something on my letter, it would have been thrown away} this form response – the query was not quite intriguing enough to inspire me to offer representation or further consideration of your project.

“I am grateful that you have afforded me this opportunity to find out about you and your work, and I wish you the best of success with your current and future writing endeavors.”

Joshua Bilmes, Proprietor {Nicely done. I smiled after, but was disappointed}

#4 Rejection—February of 2007: Scribbled across my query letter in blue ink: Not for me—thanks anyway from Paul S. Levine Lit. Agency {And you're definitely not for me, either, thanks for nothing}

#5 Rejection—February 9, 2006: very short letter I was surprised they used a whole sheet of paper!“Thank you for your query, but we are not interested.” Scribe Agency
{That's it pull it off quickly so as not to hurt sooo much}

#6 Rejection—Dated March 2006: form letter

"Dear Author,
We apologize for this form letter. We have been busy reading and evaluating numerous queries and manuscripts and we have no choice but to reply in this manner. We have received and read your query, and we have concluded that your material is simply not suited to our needs at this time. {when would be a better time? Tell me and I'll resend!!}

“Please, do not let this discourage you from your chosen art.” {as if it could. Please!}
“We wish you luck with your writing career. {What career? I need to make money before I can have one!}
Sincerely, Sedgeband Literary Associates, Inc.

#7 Rejection 5-4-06 form letter:
“Thank you for submitting your work to the Gislason Agency. I apologize for this form letter, which we adopted due to the volume of submissions we receive. After careful consideration, we have decided not to pursue this project. As I am sure you are aware, we receive many more submissions than we can possibly take on, and our process of selecting work is subject to the personal taste of our editors, and their subjective estimation of the commercial viability of the work. Since we did not receive a SASE with adequate postage for the return of your work, it was destroyed.

I appreciate having the opportunity to consider this, and wish you all the best in securing representation for your work.

Very truly yours,

Barbara J. Gislason
Literary Agent

{I liked #5 better. I didn't need a dictionary for it. Got to the point. Not painless but, I'm just saying . . .}

This is only a cross section of the queries I sent out for Spell of the Black Unicorn beginning in 2006. I had actually made queries in 03, 04, took 05 off to re-evaluate and rewrite the mss.

(Rejections from Daw Books, Roc, Imajinn Books, Forge forced me to concentrate on agents.)

During this time the rejections made me look simultaneously into POD. Author House sounded a bit shaky, from things I'd seen on-line at warning sites. Xlibris sent me a full-color magazine designed to confuse and befuddle with all the “extras” you could get. I did not like the fact that I potentially could spent $1,000 or more on having them basically print a book for me. I did not get back to them; they still call me leaving messages about 3-4 times a year.

So, there you have it in all it's glory, my own rejections for a book which I have had 4 book signings for. I have no regrets. None at all.


  1. Now I just want to try to get an agent for the rejection letters alone. lol

  2. Aren't these great? I laughed at what you said, Jen.

    I was just looking through the old list I'd had on agents to check and what they said so that you know what to send them. One says "serious efforts only please." I can't imagine what their rejection slip looks like!lol

  3. Yep. You betcha. But I got the book out there.

    Thanks for becoming a follower!


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