Work: Surviving the Arts

Exploring issues of sustainability in the arts

–by Scott Pinkmountain

Some Rejections


“I’m not sure that your author platform is quite at the level necessary to launch a book of this sort. I suggest that you continue to establish and grow your platform so that you will be in a stronger position to pursue a book deal.”

“I think this is smart and wise, but I’m just not convinced that I can sell it”

“I’m sorry to say that I have unhappy news for you, which is that I don’t think I can sell this novel as is.  Each chapter needs to have an arc and end with a bang.”

“The book didn’t quite have the hook it would need to really stand out.”

“To me the material feels too ‘ten thousand feet’ up.  It’s a helicopter perspective that, to me, never feels like a must buy.”

“I shared with some folks here and while they, like me, dug the voice and sensibility, in the end we just weren’t sure enough of the audience to take this on.”

“I got more reads on this and, unfortunately, we’ve decided to pass in the end. Everyone here loved Scott’s voice and understood what he was trying to do, but in the end we felt his message, while realistic and useful, wasn’t inspirational enough and would therefore be a tough sell in this category.”

“I’m going to step aside on this one, but thanks, as always, for thinking of me. I hope to connect on something else soon!”

“I’ve been spending a lot of time with this project, as I like the idea and his voice tremendously. But I just can’t get myself to the point of moving forward with it, and I keep trying to nail down why. It might be it’s just not for me, but I think a lot of it is that I feel really overwhelmed by the quantity of material.”

“Unfortunately, this material does not suit our current needs. Due to the heavy volume of submissions, time does not permit us to elaborate further except to thank you again for thinking of us and to sincerely apologize for our delayed response.”

“We received a truly overwhelming batch of worthy submissions, and decision-making was a difficult process. While we’ve decided not to publish your chapbook, we do thank you for trusting us with your work, and we wish you all the best as you continue writing and submitting.”

“I like this concept and think the ideas you present are very smart, but this isn’t quite the right project for me at this time — I just don’t think I’d be its best advocate.”

“Though we have not selected your chapbook, we appreciate the opportunity we’ve had to read it. We understand that every submission is a statement of support for what we do.”

“I’m sorry for the impersonal nature of this letter; please know we read each query we receive. Unfortunately, we don’t feel we are the right agency for your project.”

“We’re sorry to say that your piece wasn’t right for us, despite its evident merit. Thank you for allowing us to consider your work.”

“Many thanks for querying me here, but I’m sorry to say this isn’t quite the right match for my list. I do appreciate your trying me, though, and wish you all the best of luck in finding a good home for this book.”

“Somehow each time I go into it, I’m having difficulty connecting with the voice. Responses to voice are, of course, especially subjective, and one man’s grating can be another’s cool and experimental, so of course don’t take this as scripture.”

“I’m afraid I’m just not falling in love with the narrative voice enough to think I’d be the right champion for your work.”

“I appreciate your patience as I’ve taken the time to review your submission. Unfortunately, I am afraid I must pass. Though I liked your writing, I didn’t find myself drawn to the premise.”

“I will have to pass. Please remember that publishing is a highly subjective business, and I hope you find an agent who will have the passion for your work that it deserves.”

“While I did enjoy your manuscript, I’m afraid I simply didn’t feel strongly about it in a way that’s necessary to consider representation. I really have to be in love with a book before I can offer to put my agency behind it, and the current tough marketplace means I have to carefully choose our list. I’m sorry I don’t have better news, but I do appreciate the chance to read your novel.”

“While this is clearly a quite carefully wrought and quite impressive novel in so many ways, I’m afraid that the voice is not quite resonating with me, nor the story, in the end.”

“I found it to be brilliant, sharp, and entertaining…but also exasperating!”



  • Oh, my. The whole experience sounds exhausting, especially those who liked the voice, but not the premise–and vice versa!