Literary Agent Rejection Letters

Back in June of 2014, I began the difficult task of sending out query letters and a 10-page synopsis of Behind the Mask, to a list of literary agents I found at WritersMarkets.com.  Having absolutely NO clue what I was doing, I researched how to go about the process.  And I’m pretty sure I did it all wrong, but the longer I do this, the more I learn.

So, the query letter was awful, even when I read it now, I cringe.  And the 10-page synopsis, which needed to basically spoil the reader, was harder to write than one would imagine.  But I was undeterred in my quest to make a fool of myself.  I say that because though I felt I had a decent story to tell, I wasn’t fully confident I had succeeded in writing it.

After skimming through the names of hundreds of agents, I just picked out ones that I assumed handled fictional novels.  I typed up the required self-addressed stamped envelopes, stuck in the query letter, along with the synopsis and hoped for the best.

Since I self-published both of my books you can guess what happened.  However, I had heard horror stories about some of the rejections letters authors had received, even famous ones.  Therefore, I was prepared for the slaughter, but surprisingly the rejections weren’t as painful as I expected.  That being said, after the tenth one or so, can’t say they didn’t sting a little.

I sent out 24 in all and got back 20.  Some were just my query letter sent back to me with a few words written on them, stating how they weren’t interested.  Some were a standard stock robotic letter, saying they couldn’t represent me.  But a few were very kind and no one told me it all out sucked.  Or that I should give up writing.  There was one in particular who wrote the most amazing letter and told me how she saw it as a movie, but I didn’t submit a screenplay, I submitted a novel.  Two completely different things.  Not going to lie, can’t say I haven’t thought about the movie version, but I’m a realist.  Even though she didn’t represent me, I never forgot about her letter.  The following are just three of the rejection letters, to show the difference in responses.  The first one is my favorite:

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