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October 29, 2010 9:31 AM Subscribe
Novelist Bill Morris on the lost art of the rejection letter
posted by otio (23 comments total)
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)For years I’ve kept what I call an Agony File, mostly rejection letters from agents and editors, but also critiques from valued readers. The “agony” is meant ironically. While some of the letters were painful to read, I’ve kept the ones that contain constructive criticism that helped make me a better writer. I’ve also kept a few that are so badly written, so inane, so lacking in insight or comprehension that they serve as a reminder that there are as many idiots in publishing as in any other line of work. A sense of superiority has a magical way of softening the sting of rejection.
Doubleday's Gerald Howard responds in the comments:
. . . Well, we’d all like to be Max Perkins, but the conditions of the job — including, I must say defensively, the custom now to multiple submit, which means that as many as a dozen editors are engaged reading a manuscript at the same time when only one will end up publishing it — make that impossible. But we try.
I’m sorry and I apologize to everyone for everything.