FREE. The Confused Man’s Guide to Publishing Success

Posted on November 2, 2016

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Dear Mr. Paul Johnson,

Thank you so much for writing me about your book project. I carefully consider each query I receive, and I’m sorry to say that yours isn’t a perfect fit for me. I do appreciate that you wrote to me and wish you the very best luck finding the ideal agent for your work.

Best regards,

Alison

Property of George Marks: http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/photo/male-secretary-at-typewriter-high-res-stock-photography/53271947

It pains me to write this letter. So much so that I can’t even bear to look at the page or use both hands.

Dear Alison,

Thank you so much for your reply regarding my book project. I carefully consider each rejection I receive, and I’m sorry to say that yours isn’t a perfect fit for me. I do appreciate that you wrote to me and wish you the very best luck finding a different writer to reject.

I’m looking forward to working together.

Paul

george-marks-male-secretary-at-typewriter

The Unfazed Writer at Work.

Dear Paul,

Unfortunately, I do not feel that I could be the best advocate for your work. Please keep in mind that mine is a subjective business, and an idea or story to which one agent does not respond may well be met with great enthusiasm by another, and I encourage you to continue writing to agents.

Best Regards,

Alison

Property of George Marks: http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/photo/male-secretary-at-typewriter-high-res-stock-photography/53271947

It’s not personal.

Dear Alison,

Are you certain you’re not experiencing ‘great enthusiasm’? ‘Enthusiasm’ is a subjective business. You may believe you’re experiencing only moderate enthusiasm, but is it possible your ‘moderate’ feeling might be rated ‘great’ by other agents? How can we ever truly know what another human is feeling? Is it possible you possess a greater capacity for enthusiasm than the general population? Might you be an enthusiasm outlier?

And even if you are not an enthusiasm outlier and are genuinely experiencing ‘moderate enthusiasm,’ is moderate enthusiasm anything to sniff at? A lot of marriages have survived decades on much less.

I look forward to working with you.

Paul

Property Getty Images: http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/photo/male-secretary-at-typewriter-high-res-stock-photography/53271947

Writing enthusiasm trumps writing ability.

Paul,

It appears I must be direct. I did not experience even moderate enthusiasm for your book project. I did not enjoy reading it on any level. I will not be representing your book.

Alison

Property of George Marks: http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/photo/male-secretary-at-typewriter-high-res-stock-photography/53271947

It’s not personal. But it’s getting there.

Dear Alison,

You didn’t enjoy reading it? Well I didn’t enjoy writing it. And my dearth of enjoyment lasted 300 hours. If I can withstand 300 hours of writing misery there must be a market of readers who can withstand a mere 10 hours of reading misery.

Let’s think outside the box. If every agent is searching for new books readers will love, you could easily make your name as the agent for books readers will hate. Alison could be the first name in bad books. Like exercise and vegetables, sometimes the things we hate can be beneficial. Could my book be the broccoli of book projects?

Of course I’m not opposed to taking life’s broccoli with a side of lemon butter. If there are specific parts of the book you don’t like, I’m fine with you changing those parts into something you do like. If the ‘parts’ of the book you don’t like add up to be all of the parts, I’m fine with you substituting a better book in its entirety for my book. As long as I get a check and my name is on the cover I’ll be satisfied.

Paul

Property Getty Images: http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/photo/male-secretary-at-typewriter-high-res-stock-photography/53271947

Alison?

If you enjoyed my rejection rejection template, you might also enjoy my ransom letter template in this post: We Have Your Ransom Note! If You Ever Want to See Your Ransom Note Again, Do Exactly As We Say!

Lots of readers have found this ransom note template helpful. At least once a day I get a search from somebody researching ‘How to write a ransom note’. Seriously.

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