How To Handle a Rejection Letter


“Every Day I Write the Book” Elvis Costello

“Sister I’m a Poet” Morrissey

“Here’s Where The Story Ends” The Sundays

Last night, I got a rejection letter from an agent I had queried about No Awkward Goodbyes well over a year ago, saying that while I had the chops, the novel was “too backstory and voice-heavy for me.”

That’s funny, of course, because three weeks ago, my agent, the brilliant and charming Jim McCarthy of Dystel & Goderich, sold No Awkward Goodbyes to Chelsey Emmelhainz at William Morrow, a division of HarperCollins, for release in early 2016.

I didn’t write back to gloat to this agent.  After all, I should have told her that I had found representation back in April, but I sent the query a year ago, and her agency had a “If you don’t hear back from us in four weeks, consider it a rejection” policy, which I hate for exactly these sorts of reasons.  But Matthew came up with this handy author’s rejection letter template for future such occurrences:

Dear Agent,

      Thank you for your interest in NO AWKWARD GOODBYES. Unfortunately I am unable to accept your rejection at this time due to the fact that my “voice and backstory heavy” novel is already represented by one of the most prestigious literary agencies in New York and has recently sold with a generous advance to HarperCollins.

      As you well know, being an agent is a very difficult and competitive profession, and it is simply not possible for all agents to successfully know which manuscripts are worth rejecting. In the future you might want to consider consulting the trades (such as Publishers Weekly) to get a better understanding of the type of manuscripts that are currently selling to “big five” publishers, as well as the ones that already have.
                                                                                                                Libby Cudmore
A touch edgy, sure…but after all the rejection we face as writers, isn’t it a little nice to have the upper hand (even in a fantasy).

2 responses to “How To Handle a Rejection Letter”

  1. I also am not a big fan of “no reply means no”…especially if they’re going to take the time to send you a rejection a year later? So very, very odd.

    But yeah, you didn’t need them anyway! So there!

  2. Hurray on No Awkward Goodbyes!!! Awesome news and a million congrats!

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