Friday, January 18, 2008

One ms., two letters from editors

We’ve talked on this blog some about what to say in a rejection letter, and these 2 (in my opinion, anyway) got it just right. They’re both about the same ms.

One of these letters was from a trade book editor, the other from a text book editor. The two together convinced me that this ms. was not publishable, period – and anyone who knew the industry could have told me that before I wrote it. (Alvina writes great editorial letters, too, but she didn’t write one about this ms.)

This all happened in the bad old days before the BRGs. When I wrote my next non-fiction book, I described ideas to one of them first (VERY helpful, but that is another topic)….and I’m not sure I would have done that had it not been for these two honest, helpful letters.


Anonymous said...

Honestly, two rejections is nothing, and I wouldn't be convinced by those letters, anyway.

The text book letter just proves that text book publishers are bound by absurd and arbitrary rules and that you shouldn't submit work to them.

The Holt letter just proves that they don't want to bet on quality over a low price point. (By "price point" I assume they're looking for a nice way to say "price.")

Sounds like a quality book that the right quality publisher would be glad to have.


Meghan McCarthy said...

Those were nice letters--much better than vague ones that say "This is nice but not right for me." Those are the useless kind. Maybe you should give it another shot!