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Targeted Directory of literary agents and editors of commercial fiction

LITERARY AGENCIES:

[ A ] [ B ] [ C ] [ D ] [ E - F ] [ G ] [ H ] [ I - J ] [ K ] [ L ]
[ M ] [ N ] [ O - P - Q ] [ R ] [ S ] [ T ] [ U - V - W ] [ Z ]

PUBLISHERS / EDITORS:

[ A ] [ B ] [ C ] [ D - F ] [ G - H ]
[ I - L ] [ M - O ] [ P ] [ R ] [ S ] [ T - Z ]

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literary rejection letter

Sample rejection letters received from literary agents / publishers in response to query letters:

Thank you for querying me about your book.  I thought you had a very enjoyable concept, however, the general feeling was that the initial print numbers would be too small for our list.  So, therefore, I have to pass.

The publishing business has been erratic since the latter part of 1995, when most publishers took a big fall in sales. Sales were mixed until 1999, and then got better. However, 2001 was a very bad year in terms of bottom-line profits, because most publishers produced too many units of too many different titles, and therefore were either marginally profitable or actually took a loss for the year. 2002 was also marginal, and sales fell apart in early October through the Christmas selling season. 2003 was better for nonfiction, but fiction sales were still very soft, and 2004 continued the same. Over the last several years, bookstore business seems to fall by one or two percent month by month, but bookstores are showing higher profits. This generally means that they’re selling more copies of a limited number of books, usually by established best-selling authors–and very often in the area of nonfiction in its various forms rather than fiction. Happily, bookstore business in 2007 took an upturn by about 4%, but there still seems no indication as to where that business specifically came from, and publishers are still wary. Publishers are still cutting their lists, and editors are still buying extremely carefully.

While your novel sounds exciting and I applaud your use of actual events for inspiration, our agency does not represent fiction. I encourage you to look on the acknowledgment pages of like-minded books for the names of other possible agents to solicit. I wish you success in finding the perfect agent for your book.

*** is a very small publisher, couldn't do anything for you, and in any case I am running the operation down. Good luck with the book.

I think I had best say no thank you to reading The Fifth Internationale. From my experience in agenting political thrillers, especially those with a message, I find the American market extremely difficult. American publishers, unlke the Europeans, only want thrillers to entertain their readers. They don't care if a novel has a message. If it is Michael Crichton writing about Japan, fine. This is Michael Crichton. But it is exceedingly difficult to take on a new novelist writing out of a desire to explore political problems and world events in this genre. If you want to discuss and investigate the burning issues of the day, you had best do this in non-fiction. Only the most highly skilled novelists manage to sell thrillers of international intrigue to top New York publishers. The bar is set exceedingly high. You have to create top suspense, a true page turner, in order to land a contract. Wishing you the best of luck, and with regrets,

Thank you for your query. I am sorry to say that I am not taking on any new clients at the moment.

What are your qualifications for writing this?

No thank you, but thanks for writing to me about your novel.

America is not ready to accept that the CIA or the US government stood behind the creation of Al Qaeda and the World Trade Center 9/11 bombing.

Thank you for your query. Unfortunately, this is not something that is right for me. I wish you success with your writing.

You sound like an honest and dedicated and creative and hard working author with an interesting story to tell your readers. Unfortunately, I am not an agent who handles political novels. I handle ONLY romance/adventure novels (like the novels Nicholas Evans, Nicholas Sparks write). I am sorry I can't be of more help. I am sure, however, that you will find a good agent who will be able to help you publish this work and future works. I wish you all the good luck and future success in your writing career. Thank you for thinking of me.

Thanks for contacting me about your work. Unfortunately, I don't think it's quite a fit for me as an agent. However, I would encourage you to contact other agents about your work as often it's just a matter of talking to enough people until you find someone who connects with what you're doing.

Thank you for your query below. Although the premise of your book sounds exciting, in the end, I don't think it's right for me. Best of luck elsewhere!

Thank you for the opportunity to consider your query. Unfortunately, we are sorry to say that your project does not sound like something that would fit our list at this time. Ours is a small literary agency, and, therefore, we must be very selective in the projects we represent. We wish you great luck in your quest for representation.

Thank you for your query with details of your novel The Fifth Internationale . We regret, however, that at present we are not accepting any unsolicited work. We hope to be considering unsolicited material again at some point in the future, but please telephone or send a brief email first before sending in any submissions.

I regret to say that your work as described is not a good fit with the type of material I am most confident of selling into the current market. I must therefore decline the opportunity to consider the manuscript. I also do apologize that, due to a recent surge in submissions, I cannot send you a more detailed reply. Please be aware that mine are the needs and opinions of just one agent, and there may be many agents for whom your book would be just right. Best of luck, and may your writing bring you happiness and success.

Thank you for the query about your work but at the present time, we're not taking new clients so I'll have to pas. I do wish you all the best.

I'm sorry but we are very busy with work generated by our existing clients - hence the delay in responding to your query - and we are not taking on any new writers at present. Thanks for thinking of us though and good luck with finding suitable representation.

Thank you for contacting us. However, due to the demands of our current client list, we are not accepting queries at this time.

Thank you for thinking of us. However, we have not been taking on new clients for some time. Have you tried Writers' House? Good luck . [Update: Tried Writer's House by email and my IP was added to their spam list].

Sorry, no thanks, not for me.

I'm sorry, but we are probably not the right agents for this work. We wish you the best of luck with the project.

We received and read your query. Although we enjoyed reading your idea, we cannot accept your material at this time. Please, do not let this discourage you. Writing is a fun and rewarding profession. Unfortunately, our agency is not well suited to marketing this particular item at this time. Overall, we concluded that the material would be difficult for us to sell to the publishers that we are in contact with and we would not be able to give your work the presentation it would need to enlighten the mind of a publishing house editor.

Many thanks but I am currently only considering nonfiction.

Regretfully, we are unable to offer you the services of our agency because we are not seeking new clients at this time.

Thanks for this. I'm afraid this would not be for me, but good luck and best wishes elsewhere.

It certainly sounds intriguing. We have, however, recently refocused our Agency, and have sharply curtailed our fiction acquisition. We must therefore pass and wish you best of luck elsewhere.

Sorry, but not right for us.

Many thanks for sending your proposal along but I am too busy currently with work for my clients. I wish you the best of luck in your continued search.

Because I am overcommitted, I have forwarded your query to my New York associate, *** ***. He will respond to you. [did not respond]

Thank you for contacting me with regard to the above-mentioned work. Unfortunately, having carefully considered your proposal, I believe I am not the agent for you. In my search for clients I wish to represent only the manuscripts with which I feel a real connection. Ultimately - and for purely subjective reasons - this query did not spark that kind of enthusiasm. Nevertheless, I greatly appreciate your thinking of this agency, and I wish you the best in finding the right representation for your work.

Thank you for your query offering us the chance to consider your material. Unfortunately, our lists are full at the moment, and we are not in the position to make you an offer of representation. May I suggest that you refer to the WRITERSMarket for those agencies who read unsolicited material? At any rate, it was very kind of you to think of us, and we wish you every success with your writing.

I'm afraid I handle very few fiction titles and so I am not the best agent for your work. Best of luck.

Thanks for your query. Unfortunately, I do not feel that I could be the best advocate for your work. Please keep in mind that mine is a subjective business, and an idea or story one agent does not respond to may well be met with great enthusiasm by another, and I encourage you to continue writing to agents. Hopefully you will find someone who will get behind you and your work with the conviction necessary in the current market.

Thank you so much for sending me your query. Although your novel sounds intriguing, I'm sorry to say that I don't believe I am the right agent for you. You deserve an enthusiastic representative, so I recommend that you pursue other agents. After all, it just takes one "yes" and with so many different opinions out there, you could easily find the right match.

Thank you for being so patient in awaiting our response to your query. Unfortunately, we must pass on the opportunity to represent The Fifth Internationale. Please do not let this decision discourage you. We mold our client list from the many submissions we receive every month, and the process is both subjective and based on the direction of this agency. We hope you will soon find an agent with whom you can establish a productive relationship.

This is really tempting, however, I'm sorry to say that our company represents mostly foreign rights for publishers and other literary agencies, so I am afraid that we must pass. We liked THE FIFTH INTERNATIONALE quite a bit. We wish you the best in your literary career and know that you will do well.

Thank you for your submission and for your interest in Grove/Atlantic. Unfortunately, given the overwhelming volume of material we receive, we are unable to accept unsolicited submissions. We have a hard enough time keeping up with submissions from agents these days, and therefore have made it our policy to no longer consider manuscripts directly from authors.

It’s almost impossible to get published these days without an agent, and we think you would be well served by getting one. Agents are crucial in refining an author’s work, finding an appropriate publishing house and editor, and protecting the author’s interests.

Apologies if you already know this, but we’ve found this is a useful way to go about getting an agent. Rather than sending out 100 copies of your work, target them carefully.
Find a dozen or so books which you think are similar in style or substance to yours—perhaps avoid huge bestsellers—and approach the agent behind the book. He or she is usually listed in the acknowledgements, or you can usually find the name online with a bit of creative Google searching. Send each of these agents a personalized letter explaining what drew you to them and their agency, and describing your work. Be sure to do your research; resources like The Literary Market Place, The Writer’s Handbook, and The Writer’s Guide to Book Editors, Publishers, and Literary Agents will have contact information as well as details on what the agent accepts from authors.

Thanks so such for querying us, but we are unsure that this premise would work in this tight market. All said we would encourage you to do what many of our clients have done prior and self- publish with a reputable, and recommended, publisher. This is a new age in publishing, and as evidenced time and time again, neither The New York Times bestsellers list nor major booksellers discriminate against the self published. Oftentimes, authors choose to get proactive in order to build a sales record and boost their chances of being picked up.

I would like your permission to pass along your information to someone who can help you get started on your path towards getting published. If you are ready to become proactive about your career we will let them know more details about your manuscript and how to get into contact with you. There are a lot of publishers that seem to have gotten the better of new authors, the two that we refer you to are not of that ilk, they have had a number of successes.
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