The Best Rejection Letter + Free Book Contest Reminder

Quick reminder The Free Book Contest entry deadline is tomorrow at 7 AM EST. Click here to enter to win a personalized autographed copy of New York Times Bestselling Author Paige Shelton’s book, If Fried Chicken Could Fly!


Onto the Best Rejection Letter…

Sometimes you get a rejection letter that makes you want to send air kisses to the agent. Or at least hug a tree in their name.

On my current manuscript, I get a lot of “not for me.” Maybe it’s the topic, maybe it’s the query, maybe it’s the writing. And maybe, it just doesn’t fit their tastes.

I’m almost immune to the not for me. It’s like getting chicken pox over and over again. You learn to live around it.

Anyway, to my complete surprise this week I got a very kind, very personalized rejection on a partial.

I’ve deleted names but this is what the lovely lovely agent sent me. ๐Ÿ™‚

Hey Kourtney!
I really like your writing and the story idea…so intriguing and it really draws you in.
However, my boss is on my back about having too many unpublished authors. So, I’m sorry to say that I can’t take this project on at the moment. I don’t at all mean to keep you waiting, but I’d be happy to see this sometime down the road if you don’t have an agent for it.

Agent X

This rejection actually gave me an infusion of hope. That is the coolest thing an agent can do when they reject you.

I really appreciated this rejection letter. So thanks to a stellar agent who took the time to let me know what was working in the story.

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36 Responses to The Best Rejection Letter + Free Book Contest Reminder

  1. Great letter, really helps to get feedback like thta. Keep going!

    • Thanks! I feel like the energizer bunny when I’m querying. I just keep going and going. Pausing to revise and then back out there again. ๐Ÿ™‚ I read about people who get their agent on the first query and I’m in awe.

  2. kathils says:

    Congrats on a very hopeful rejection. So much nicer than, “not for us.”

    • Thanks! The “not for us” is still a step above radio silence. ๐Ÿ™‚ But it doesn’t give me any idea of what wasn’t working or if something was working.

      • kathils says:

        I think the “no reply means no” makes it even tougher because you can’t be certain. Did the agent actually get the query? Did they respond and cyberspace ate it? There may still be hope. . . .

        • It would be better if they had an auto reply saying the query was received if no reply means no. ๐Ÿ™‚ I never nudge or follow up on a query unless the agent’s website says to do so because they always respond to everything. Otherwise, I let it go.

  3. Congratulations! That’s a great letter. It must be such a great feeling to know that someone really took the time to read your work and appreciated it, even if she can’t take it on right now. Good to have a back-up if you ever need it later on.

    • Thanks! After a string of “not for me” I was wondering if there was on the verge of serious self doubt. But when the agent took the time to personalize the rejection and said so many nice things about my partial, it made me feel so much better. And I think she’d be a fabulous agent. Hoping someone snatches it up soon, but glad to know I can circle back to her if that doesn’t happen. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Jess says:

    That is just awesome! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. It's the little things that make life great.berry says:

    Nice letter. Contest. I have one point. Berry my name. Sandtatsnsley@gmail.com. hope I win. I follow u daily.

  6. themadgayman says:

    Congratulations. For me, this sounds like a great nudge in the right direction. It might not be the right time now, but maybe in a few months, it is! I wish you the best of luck hon.

    • Thanks. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s just great to hear feedback that’s positive too. I think it also shows that timing is a factor in getting an agent to take you on. Hopefully after a round of revisions she might have an opening.

  7. In terms of rejections, that one is stellar!

  8. crubin says:

    I appreciated every agent who took the time to personalize the inevitable rejection of my manuscript. It at least made my work feel acknowledged. Thanks for sharing–keeps the hope alive ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Congrats on the positive feedback, Kourtney! I’d say that’s a huge pat on the back. ๐Ÿ™‚ And agents don’t suggest reconnecting later on if they don’t mean it. Woo hoo!

    So fun sharing in your journey. Keep up the fantastic work!

  10. jmmcdowell says:

    What’s especially great about it is that you know an agent really read it AND liked it! Curse the circumstances the agent’s in, though! ๐Ÿ˜€

    This one tells you that what you’ve written really is good! So maybe the next agent will be able to take it on. Fingers crossed!

    • That made my week. Self doubt creeps in as the rejections pile up. It really helped to hear positive feedback. It stinks that she can’t take it on because of circumstances, but at least I know one agent liked it enough to take the time to tell me and to let me know she’d like to see it down the road. Thanks! Keeping positive.

  11. winsomebella says:

    Yes, indeed, that is as good as rejection letters can get…congrats.

  12. Laura says:

    That is a great rejection! At least it’s hopeful and uplifting ๐Ÿ™‚

    • As far as rejections go, it left me with a really good feeling and a sense that the manuscript is pretty strong. I plan to keep querying and after the next revision, I’ll definitely circle back to her again. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Hey, that is a nice rejection the letter. Depending on how your search goes, I’d definitely check back at a later date!

    • Thanks Simon! I’m hoping an agent falls in love, but if not I’ll do some revising and requery her later. I really appreciated her rejection, made me want to work with her more actually.

  14. Yay, this was exciting to read! Getting a personal rejection is always nice, but I’m sure it must be that much better when it’s so positive. The offer to resubmit the same manuscript in the future is quite unusual, from what I understand. Definitely a good sign. Thank you for sharing it with us. ๐Ÿ™‚

    If I may ask, is this the same manuscript you traded with me, or is it the other one you mentioned at SCBWI? (I’m pretty sure you mentioned you also had a book for adults that you pitched at the WD conference… If not, ignore me!) Either way, this is exciting. Hang in there with the submissions; I’m crossing my fingers for you! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Aw thanks Kat! It’s pretty rare. Form rejections are the norm. I got this one on my adult manuscript. And you’re absolutely right it was the one I pitched at WD conference. This rejection came from a cold query.

      Coincidently the YA I traded with you got a full request from a cold query on the last version. That agent gave me feedback and offered to look at the revised version. So I’m revising the YA for her and for the SCBWI editors too.

      And when you’re ready to submit, I’m happy to give feedback on your query and synopsis. Those took me a long time to get comfy with. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. amymarie says:

    Wow! I wish all my rejection letters could be like that one! I’d wait four to six months and if you don’t have an agent by then, try again!

    • Thanks AmyMarie. I’m going to keep querying and try and get another revision in this spring. If I still don’t have an agent in the summer, I’ll definitely requery. ๐Ÿ™‚ And this came after a string of not for me emails.

  16. Agents can be so snooty. It’s such a nice surprise when you get a kindly one!

  17. 4amWriter says:

    How awesome! I would love a rejection letter like that lol. I agree that the “not for me” seems to be in style and doesn’t help us writers know what we are doing wrong. Ah well.

    Knowing that you sparked the interest of an agent in some way is very encouraging and I am sure it has re-energized you in your query efforts! Not that you need re-energizing, but you know what I mean.

    Keep at it!

    • Kathryn, that letter came after rounds of not for me. It’s tough because you’d like to know if it was truly a genre disconnect or what turned them off, but I get that an agent can process 1000 queries a week so individual feedback isn’t practical. But if they have my partial or query, I would appreciate a line or two about what turned them off since they looked at the actual manuscript.

      It totally revitalized me. Self doubt is always stalking me. The more rejections pile up, the more I have to question the manuscript and the query. But this really helped me because it reaffirmed that the manuscript is good. The market is bad. And in six months I’ll resubmit to her and see what happens. And I totally understood what you mean. My spirit needed that boost. And it did re-energize me. Made me believe in the book despite the previous rejections. ๐Ÿ™‚

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