An editor friend of mine recently asked me what I would consider an ideal rejection letter, if I were a hopeless writer with delusions of adequacy and no command of grammar. (I’m pretty sure the “If I were” bit was a ruse to make her think she wasn’t talking about me, so I actually expect to receive the below letter in the mail in the next couple weeks).
Since I enjoy being entertained (even while having my manuscripts torn up), I suggested something which I would be proud to hang on my wall for the sheer conversation-starting value.
So, here is my ideal rejection letter for completely hopeless writers:
Thank you for your submission. While we do not think it advisable for you to commit suicide this early in your career, your writing displays the kind of promise and angst that have made unknowns like Sylvia Plath, Anne Frank, and John Kennedy Toole into posthumous best-sellers. These writers made the crucial mistake of dying with only one or two books to take the world by storm–don’t let yourself fall into that trap!
Unfortunately, our policy only permits us to publish fiction in your genre after your scandalous death, so we encourage you to build up your backlist and contact us again when you feel you have said your piece.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must go to the mailbox to check for today’s round of rejection slips.
What are some of the best rejections you’ve given, gotten, or heard of? Chime in in the comments!