Angie Azur is a YA Sci-fi Writer.
Writer for PALEO Magazine.
Former Intern at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
SCBWI & COWG Member.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

REJECTIONS: Nooooooooo!

This topic was requested by one of my writer friends who just received a rejection. You can do it, man! I believe in you!

Okay, so you, the brave writer that you are…you wrote a book. You poured your heart and soul. You used your own experiences. You cried. You loved. You even killed your babies. You then wrote a query letter, attempting to express your bleeding heart book in 8 - 10 sentences. You accomplished this and you are proud of it. You write a kick-ass synopsis too. 

And then you did your agent research. You used query tracker, and writer's digest, listened to writer friends and took notes at conferences. You chose your favorites, those agents you feel a kindred spirit with. You write what they like. You know you would work well together.  

You go to their websites. You learn what they want in a submission. You do exactly that. You press the send button or the button they have to accept queries. You know it will take 4 - 6 weeks to get an answer, if you ever get an answer at all. But it could take 6 months. You wait. You bite your nails. You workout excessively. You eat chocolate by the ton. You drink to much wine or beer. You cry…what did I do? Was it ready? Was it perfect? You can't sleep….

Then one morning you wake to an inbox email with your favorite agents name in the from slot. You stare at it. Your heart races. This could be the day you get your dream agent. This could be the day the world discovers you as the amazing author you are. This could be the day your book goes to the Number One Best Sellers List and then gets made into a movie! (If you're going to dream…dream big!)

You click on the email. And eagerly read the first line…

Dear Author,
Thank you for your submission, but after careful consideration I must decline. blah, blah, blah… You see nothing else after that.

You drop to the floor. You lie there staring at the ceiling wondering what in the h-e-double hockey-sticks you are doing with your life. Why do you even try? Why not just self-publish like everyone keeps asking why you're not doing???

Not sure if this is just me….or if you've experienced this same feeling of REJECTION? It's probably just me, but in the case that you too have done this and felt this way, I'll go on.

Agents reject books and projects for various reasons. Here are a few:

  • the agent is full - they have topped out at the maximum clients they can handle well

  • the agent is the middle of a movie deal and they don't have time too take on a new writer

  • the book is in a genre that has so many titles coming out later that year already (i.e. vampires, zombies, aliens, dystopian…)

  • the book has a great hook but the writer's execution is not at the level of the agent's current client list

  • the dialogue is wrong, just wrong

  • the agent already represents someone who writes about zombies, vampires, aliens, etc…

  • the agent is having a baby

  • the agent doesn't connect with the main character in an emotional way

  • the book is good, the idea new but the writer needs a lot of editing work

  • the book is good, the idea new, but the writer is not precise in execution of the idea

  • the book has an interesting hook but the writer chose to talk about his/her own life issues in the query letter

  • the agent just did not connect with the book

  • the agent does not like horror, or books about aliens or devils or angels

  • the agent loved the book, read the manuscript and then face-booked the writer….and the party photos or context are not something he/she wants to represent

As you can see there are many reasons an agent might decide to reject your book. Sometimes it's your execution. Sometimes it's the agent. Sometimes it's the market.

Sometimes you party too hard and show evidence on Facebook!

Advice to you: Keep trying. And if you are getting the same type of rejections, double think about your manuscript. But if they are varied, try new agents. Start at the less experienced agents and work you way up from there.

Oh…and check your photos that are on the web! 

As always


  1. Loved this post! Strange, though. I've had much the same experiences. Maybe you and I are the only ones this happens to...? Thanks. This was a fun way to start the morning.