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  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:





I’ll begin this ‘welcome’ post with a disclaimer…this website is a work in progress.  After blogging via Blogger (blogspot) for years, this is my first time working with WordPress.  And I’m learning as I go so this site may go through many changes and tweaks before I get it to where I’m happy with it.  For those who already know me, that won’t surprise them, because though I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a perfectionist, I’m my harshest critic.  However, I wanted to get this site up and running, instead of leaving it dormant.  And since I’m releasing my second novel, waiting to launch this website, didn’t make much sense.  So, here it is.

–  Heather Carnassale