My personal experience is that rejection letters tell you nothing. At all. They would be better off just sending an email that says one word. "No." I have no idea why I am receiving it. Is it a bad query letter? You don't think it will sell? You represent too many in that particular genre already? Does my writing suck? I'll never know. All I see are vague statements that are useless.
And then I receive a rejection letter like this one from Hocus Pocus & Co. It is a brand new publishing company that requested sample pages off of a twitter contest. I received this email yesterday.
Thank you so much for submitting your work to Hocus Pocus & Co. I really enjoyed reading your sample pages and your clear query. It's clear to me that you’re very talented and I can tell that you've spent a lot of time working hard to perfect what you've submitted.
I thought the pacing was excellent and the historical element was done seamlessly. Elizabeth has an excellent voice. I could picture her speaking. I felt like I was there. I really enjoyed the relationship between Anna and Elizabeth. It had me giggling.
With that said, I'm sorry but I'm going to pass on your project. It just wasn't right for me in the sense that my tastes are a bit more horror and a bit less fantastical. Though I absolutely love stories set in Salem. Tastes are subjective and it's no reflection upon your work. With my limited time, I can only take on projects that I'm absolutely in love with.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read it. When it's on the shelves one day I can't wait to finish the ending. I know this will find the right home.
I hope you'll consider us in the future for your next manuscript!
Best of luck!
I didn't feel at all sad when I got this rejection letter. Jolene says she looks for more horror. I don't do horror. But if I ever decide to, I know who I'm going to submit my query to.
Contrary to my usual reaction, I was elated after receiving this email. I couldn't stop smiling.
This rejection letter actually gave me hope. It told me that the countless number of form rejections didn't have anything to do with me being a sucky writer. I don't know what it had to do with, but I feel whatever it was was completely out of my control.
So to any and all agents out there, I know you don't have the time to personalize every single rejection letter. But even one sentence to let that person know why it isn't for you is so helpful as writers everywhere try to maneuver their way through the slush pile and on to publication.