Sunday, December 1, 2019

Book Manuscripts & Rejection Letters

Getting a book manuscript published is difficult because competition is stiff due to the numbers of other manuscripts in circulation. Lately I have had the experience of getting rejections that didn’t sting so much. In one letter, the publisher used the name of my manuscript so that I felt that when they wrote: “We were overwhelmed by the abounding talent and strength of the submissions we received, we’re honored that you chose to trust our team with your manuscript” that their words were sincere, respectful, and appreciative. I also felt like they went the extra mile to acknowledge my work in spite of the deluge of submissions. Moreover this publisher issued an invitation to come meet them at the next AWP book conference.

Another element that has made me feel OK with a publisher’s decision that didn’t choose my manuscript is that they sent a list of finalists and semi-finalists. At the same time, they acknowledged that they as a publisher are dependent on writers like me to make their publishing choices successful. Yes, my entry fee helps that publisher with the cost of publishing a book. And yes, my good will is necessary if that publisher wants to sell books.

Probably, the worst rejection letters start with the word unfortunately. If the letter does not begin with congratulations, the gentler, kinder letter begins with thank you.