Rejection And Feedback
Rejection And Feedback
Alexandra Pringle (Editor in Chief) gives expert video advice on: My rejection letter was very short - what does this mean?; My rejection letter was full of detailed criticism - what does this mean?; My manuscript was returned really quickly - what does this mean? and more...
Will a publisher tell me if I've been rejected?
A publisher will always, always tell you if you've been rejected. What we do is write a letter saying that we can't take the book on, and giving some reasons why it's not been possible to take it on.
Why has my submission been rejected?
A book can be rejected by a publisher for many reasons. Usually, it's because the publisher doesn't think it's right for them or for their list, and that might be a matter of taste, or it might be a value judgement: they don't think it's good enough. It might be that it doesn't suit the list at the moment because the publisher has to balance their list. For example, next year, we've got a very, very full fiction list, so to get another book slotted in next year would be very difficult for someone, whereas another publisher might be looking still for books. There are lots and lots of different reasons for rejection, and sometimes if we've loved the book, we can say that we're not able to publish it for whatever reason and can ask to see the author's next book. Publishers try to be as encouraging as possible and as frank as possible about why you work has been rejected.
What will a publisher say in a rejection letter?
A publisher will say lots of different things in a rejection letter, depending on the book. Sometimes, it can be a very short letter just saying, "I'm sorry, this isn't right for me." Or they can go into more detail about what the strengths and weaknesses of the book were. Publishers can also say that the rejection is because there's a book that they've already published, or are going to publish, that's too similar, so there wouldn't be space on the list.
My rejection letter was very short - what does this mean?
If your rejection letter was short, it doesn't really mean anything. It can mean that the publisher has been fantastically busy that week and had to write five million rejection letters. It can mean that the publisher can't really think of anything much to say, that the book just wasn't their kind of thing and they didn't want to go into the reasons with any detail.
My rejection letter was full of detailed criticism - what does this mean?
If you've had a long rejection letter from the publisher, it means you are very lucky to have had that feedback and you should take it really seriously.
My manuscript was returned really quickly - what does this mean?
If your manuscript was returned quickly, I think you've got an incredibly efficient publisher who probably didn't like the look of it.
Can I expect feedback on my submission?
You can expect feedback on your submission, but you can't demand it. You can hope for it more than expect it, but publishers are so busy that they can't necessarily give full feedback to everyone.
What is a reader's report?
A reader is somebody who is employed by the publisher to read the manuscripts that are submitted. They will sit in a room in the publishing house, or sit at home, and they will read the manuscript. Then, they write a report which is one or two pages, which give a synopsis of what the book is about, what the themes are, the characters, the plot, etc., and then a summary of what they think of the strengths and weaknesses. At the end of it, they recommend whether it should be taken further and looked at seriously for publication, or whether the book should be rejected.
Can I access my reader's report?
You cannot access your reader's report.
I've been rejected but I think I've improved - can I re-submit my manuscript to the same publisher?
You can re-submit a previously reject manuscript to a publisher. If it really has dramatically improved, you've got a very good chance of being published.
I've been rejected - can I submit a different book to the same publisher?
Once rejected, you can submit a different book to the same publisher, but I wouldn't keep doing it too many times.
I've been rejected - can I send my book to another publisher?
If you have been rejected by one publisher, you can send a book to as many publishers as you like.
What do I need to check before sending out a returned submission to another publisher?
When submitting to another publisher, it might be a good idea to think about what the first publisher has said, and whether your manuscript needs revision. Perhaps you should do more work on it before sending it to another publisher. If you feel that the book is what it is and that's what you want, then just send it out again.