Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Hopefully, everyone faces rejection. To avoid it would mean that life is not being lived to the fullest. Whether looking for a career change or kneeling with a ring in hand, we all eventually, or regularly, risk receiving a "no." We all feel the sting of it. The slap. The coldcock.

With AoaN, I have collected my share of rejection letters from agencies and publishers. I keep them for a record of where it's been sent, but also for posterity, as they say - though I'm not convinced that anyone's progeny will care to read them. They're generally polite, spell my name correctly, all that. Most of them are form letters. Occasionally they are signed by someone. All of which - and I mean this genuinely - I appreciate. Someone took time away from the arduous job of weeding through thousands of queries to respond to mine. Bless their hearts, as my mom would say. The only response that is difficult to accept is no response at all. And since I tend to expect the worst out of businesses that refer to themselves as an industry, I feel a small moment of "how nice" whenever I open a thanks-but-no-thanks for anything I write.

But then there is the response that is completely unexpected. Unimaginable. Wonderful.

The following is a file I created (borrowing from Harpers) after receiving a rejection for AoaN from literary agency Allred & Allred. (Click on the image for a closer look.)

Bless their hearts!


Blogger Gerric Duncan said...

Bless her/his/their heart(s) has to be one of the funniest phases here in the buckle of the bible belt, because it almost always accompanies an insult.

This topped a google:

Not bad for a yankee, Jonathan. Whip up a mess of grits for yourself, if you can find any at the Napa Winn Dixie.

February 09, 2006 8:17 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Foster said...

Great link.

I particularly like "Bless her heart, she's so bucktoothed,
she could eat an apple through a picket fence."

Were I a true southerner, such as yourself, Gerric, I might have ended that posting with "Lord, Have Mercy!"

February 09, 2006 1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know that rejection letter - I got the same one. What was hardest for me was when I got a letter from Scribners actually asking to read my book, then they read it, then they said they didn't want it. Urgh. It's not so bad having a query letter rejected but it sucks having the actual piece of work rejected.

By the way, I'm going to buy your book cause I just met your friend, Caroline in Seattle and she got me all excited about it. Will you buy mine? You'd have to email me though about it because it's better to buy it from me than amazon or barnesandnoble.com cause I get more money ... pupplywupply at yahoo .com

Julia Eaton

March 06, 2006 12:58 PM  

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