The Personal Rejection: Backhanded Compliment of Publishing

Many years ago I received my first rejection, from Reader’s Digest, with a long explanation of how I might make it more suitable for them. Disappointed, I showed the note to my teacher who had suggested the submission. “This is wonderful,” he said, and went on to tell me how rare a personal note is and how it says in essence to rewrite and submit again.

A Writer's Path

by John Briggs

There are two types of rejection letters – the dreaded form letter and the personal rejection letter. The former is just what it sounds like—the one that editors and agents send to dozens, if not hundreds of authors every year that says, with very little subtext, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

The personal letter, of course, says, with very little subtext, “We’re sorry, thanks, but no thanks.”

Actually, that’s a bit unfair to the personal rejection letter. Some are effusive in their praise. Gushing even. But for whatever reason, they can’t publish or represent your hard work.

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