Friday, February 4, 2011

Celebrating 60! The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

As promised, I'm posting comments I've received on my manuscripts over the years from agents and editors.  I've taken out names of manuscripts or industry professionals because those are not important.  My 1st goal in posting these is to show how my writing and my understanding of the publishing world has gotten better over the years and why I keep writing.  My other goal is to show those who don't write what we go through and to show those who do write that if they receive a rejection like this they are not alone! 


"[COMPANY NAME] is a publication for women who loves sensual stories and requires the best in women's romantic sensual fiction."   ---emphasis added in letter/their typo, not mine, 1999

"Unfortunately, although not without merit, I'm afraid this project is not right for American Romance." ---A query on my Scottish suspense with two heroes, 2000

"I suggest you have a critique or editing performed....I can recommend one [CRITIQUING SERVICE] who has done well in the past."  --- 2003

"I wish I could help, but I am currently overwhelmed...."  --- Agent, 2002

"I am sorry to say that I am not interested in receiving a submission from [MANUSCRIPT TITLE]."  --- 2002

"Dear Author (handwritten) Lexi" --- no date

Thanks very much for the look at [MANUSCRIPT TITLE], and sorry to say no."  --- 2006

"Although I enjoyed  reading your story....I have decided to pass on this project."  --- 2007


"You're a competent author.  I didn't, however, fall in love with the plot as I had hoped."  --- 2006

"Although your story sounds interesting, I cannot consider representing you because it is too similar to a story I already represent."  --- 2007

This one told me I didn't need an agent to submit to Harlequin, but then said, "Once you've established yourself...or make the decision to branch out into single title I would love to hear from you again." --- 2008

"Thank you for sending me this---I think you  have a really great writing style and your voice is also very compelling, I just didn't feel hooked by the storyline."--- 2009

"Once again, I clearly think you are talented.  I just wanted to feel more drawn in to the danger this woman was in."  --- 2009

"I am therefore forced to reject it." --- 2010

So you can see that sticking with it has gotten me closer to a "YES."  Will I face another 60 rejections before I find the right editor/agent with the right manuscript at the right time?  I'm going to be bold here and say NO WAY!  But even if I do open another 60 rejections before I sell, at the rate I'm going, I'll get there eventually!


  1. BRAVO for you Alexa. I am like you, but not up to the 60 rejections because I hold my stories and don't send them out. How terrible is that? They are good and I've received many compliments but they don't fall into what they are looking for. I don't intend to ever give up because I love to write and I love all the friends and the experiences I have had over the years. Good luck to you!

  2. Alexa, your positive attitude is an inspiration.
    The ability to not let other people define who you are is a gift. Keep going. I can't wait to see your name on the front of a book.

    Jamie Burton

  3. Aw, Jamie, I think I'm gonna cry! Thanks!

  4. This year, my annual file cleaning project included the chucking of a drawer full of rejection letters. Getting rid of them felt fantastic. Since I started accumulating them years ago, I have seen my first book in print, I have two e-books out, a short story in a print anthology, and a young adult novel under contract. I once attended a writing conference where an established author stated that she's published a slew of books over the last thirty years, and she still gets rejection letters. Her advice, and the advice all published authors give to aspiring writers, always includes "persevere." You are certainly doing that, Alexa, and your perseverance will pay off. Best of luck!

  5. Thanks, Pat! I know that rejections will always be part of my writing life, and that's ok because it will make the "YES'S" that much more meaningful. I'm thinking that when I sell, part of my celebration will be to burn my rejection file!

  6. Alexa, Congratulations on #60. :) I love your attitude. It's the attitude you need in this business. I also cleaned out my rejections a few years ago when I was trying to feng shui the house (I was told rejection letters carry a lot of negative energy) and I had around 100 rejections before I sold. I've sold 5 novellas now but still get rejections sometimes as most authors do. It never really ends, so it's good to know how to bounce back and remain flexible the way you are. I'm wishing you all the best, because you deserve it!

  7. You are obviously getting closer! THE CALL is surely right around the corner.

    I got "You're a competent author" from an agent once (followed by a different reason for rejection). Somehow "competent" stung worse than some of the other rejections. Silly, no?

    Thanks for the great post!


  8. Nicole, I have no delusions that once I sell I'll be on easy street. I've watched too many friends who are published go through rejections, problems and contract droughts.

    OMG, Irene, YES the "competent" comment did sting worse! It was like a back-handed compliment.

  9. Alexa - I think you've been reading my mail! LOL! Well done, my friend. I think one of my particular favorites was: "Your heroine and hero should've had sex in the first chapter. You totally avoided that scene." Hmm...well. The way my story unfolded, the hero and heroine barely knew each other. *shrug* I apparently stumbled into the wrong room with this editor. She was searching for something more erotic. But at least she gave me feedback! Keep at it, Alexa. It will happen.

  10. Yes, Maeve, feedback is always a plus! It means they cared enough to comment! Thanks for the vote of confidence! Maybe 201 is my year!

  11. Lexi, this was a fascinating post! I loved seeing how the rejections changed over the years. I think I'm going to go back and look at mine too. I'm so proud of you! I'll jump on that bold bandwagon too and say "NO WAY!" You'll see yourself contracted before another 60 :)


  12. Thanks, Eliza! Yeah, I actually got a whole different, more positive attitude once I reread the rejections in order and noticed the changes over the years.