Actually even if we use the word rejection, the sting can be removed from it because there are several reasons a manuscript has been rejected or turned down.
An editor friend of mine from one of
biggest publishing houses explained to me that when they refuse a book there
are several reasons. India
- Sometimes a book is turned down because the editor is not in love with the story. “I like the story but I am not in love with it.” I have heard of this reason.
- Sometimes even good books are refused, books which the editorial committee may have approved in stage one of the selection process, may be disapproved in stage two because of financial constraints. The publishing house just does not have the money to pump into this book at the current time.
- Several times books are turned down because publishers are unable to think of a marketing strategy for that particular book. Books that cannot be marketed do not sell well. ( A publisher called me and personally told me that they were refusing one of my chapter book because they feared that they would be unable to market it, even though they liked the book a lot).
- Very often the publishers have brought out a book similar to the one submitted some time back and do not want to repeat themes. They prefer to tackle different books. One of my Short Story Collection met with this fate. The publisher asked me to wait for 3 years. I thought that was too much.
- Books that do not follow certain trends: read as books on unusual, bold themes, or archaic themes are refused for fear of them not selling well.
- Books that need a lot of editing, both structural as well as grammatical translates into a refusal. Editors just do not have the time or energy to devote to such manuscripts. Everyone prefers a polished piece that requires minimum editing. Editors don’t mind corroborating with writers when a manuscript is outstanding and editorial changes can further enhance it, turning it into literary magic.
- Many times even good books are turned down as there is a lacunae, in the style of writing and the theme. The theme may be for older children while the writing style for younger ones, or vice versa.
- Good books are turned down as the publishing house’s publishing programme is full for the next couple of years and there is no room for new manuscripts, unless it’s a part of a series.
- Several times good books by first time authors are turned down in favour of not so good books by authors who publishers consider well known or brand names. Brand names according to my editor friend ensures that the First Print Run sells.
There are several reasons for the rejection of a manuscript. There is no need for us (writers ) to feel insulted or hurt. A rejection does not mean that a writer is bad, it just means that the story has not resonated with the editor or that they have different visions for it. It’s nothing personal. Do you feel there are any other reasons for rejecting a manuscript? What does rejection mean to you?Please share with us.
P.S. To spruce up your Book Promotion and Marketing Skills, read this amazing post by Carolyn Howard Johnson on my dear friend, Stephen Tremp's blog.