Why manuscripts get rejected by publishers

Over the years I’ve had my share of rejection as a writer.

Many of these rejections were for poems, articles and stories I had submitted to magazines. Some were for children’s novels I have written. Some of the rejections were blunt; they didn’t want to publish my writing and no reasons were given. Some were polite and very brief. A few were encouraging and praised my writing. One notable rejection was a full page of suggested changes and a request to resubmit. (I’m still working on that one.)

Rejections come in many forms, but the reaction of the writer is often the same; devastation – or, at best, disappointment.  Writers who give out advice about writing on web sites or at conferences or who teach writing classes glibly say, ‘Don’t take rejection personally. They are rejecting the writing – not you.’ That’s all well and good, but it is still deflating to get a rejection letter, especially something like a novel you’ve slaved over for five or more years.

I’ve also had it drummed into me that I should always work on a manuscript until it is the very best I can present. From what I have heard and read, far too many would-be authors submit shoddy writing to publishers or agents. They don’t realise how easy this makes it for the editor or agent to reject that writing very quickly, perhaps in a few seconds. It’s a very competitive field. In order to get published your writing has to rise well above the ordinary, the mundane and the truly awful.

For a longer discussion on this topic I’d like to recommend the following article. The title says it all.


2 Responses to “Why manuscripts get rejected by publishers”

  1. Tim says:

    I hear what you’re saying. Rejection stings, but such an important part of a writer’s life. I’m one of those who haven’t yet broken through into the world of the published. Perseverance and growth seem to be key characteristics of a successful writer. At least that’s what I hope.

  2. Trevor says:

    Hi there Tim,

    Thanks for visiting my blog. Sorry about the delay in replying to your comment. I’ve been a bit busy finishing my novel.

    Perseverance is certainly a key characteristic of a writer, so keep at it and someday you will experience that rare joy of saying you are a published writer. If you don’t keep writing you can’t improve, and if you don’t keep on improving you limit the chances of being published, and if you don’t submit your best work… well – you know what I’m saying.

    Good writing and I hope someday soon you will taste success.