And a Merry Christmas to you, too…

This rejection letter response falls under the category of “May I Slit My Own Throat?” I just received this today. Oh the merriment, the joy, the tact. The lack of spelling ability…

I want to thank you for responding back with such a ‘pissy’ little note. I was starting to think that I wouldn’t get the oppertunity to get a rejection notice on my book [title redacted].

On Thurday/Friday last week I emailed about 100 publishers. On Monday I had 17 responses. 12 of those said we would like to see your manuscript. 9 of those said we are “very” interested. 4 of those asked me not to contact other publishers.

I sent them all a full copy.

This morning I have spent hours on the phone discussing 2 separate companies proposals. By the looks of things I’m sure more will come. Who knows, maybe some of them will even be willing to bid against each other after I feel confident I’ve collected what everyone seems to think they have to offer.

I’ve never even published a book before. [LP: yes this I believe] Beginners luck I guess.

Of all the nice little emails, I think I’ll frame yours. I’ll title it, “The only bitch in the bunch.”

By the way, you try and copy or distribute a single sentance of my book, then we will talk again. I promise. [LP: darn, I guess my idea of posting them on the bathroom stalls between here and Barstow is out.]

The “pissiness” he refers to was this:

Dear [name redacted],
Thank you for your query. I’m afraid we won’t be interested in reviewing your work at this time.

I’d like to add, for your edification, that it’s insulting to remind me, or any editor, that your work is copyrighted. We, above all, are very aware of this, and to request that we not copy or distribute your work without your permission is an affront. You might want to remove that from your future queries.

This is what I get for trying to help people. I never know when or from where the RudeBombs will drop, but they always do. Folks, just don’t do this. Ever. Delusion is an unattractive feature in anyone, and this is too small an industry to pull that kind of insanity and not have it get around. On the other hand, I think this may make for a fun Christmas card. Hmm….

17 Responses to And a Merry Christmas to you, too…

  1. Sophia says:

    So do you think this person is lying or are all these other publishers simply the most naive creatures in the universe?

  2. Allen Parker says:

    My question is whether the 100 or so publishers know they are dealing with a person who sent his/her work to so many. At least most of them have lost time and effort just answering the mail and requesting a read.

    Maybe I am the worst writer on earth, but I get rejected at a rate much higher than that. I query no more than a handful and wait for each response. I am faithful to let the others know when I have a request for exclusive, and I honor it. Maybe I am doing this wrong.

  3. Alexandra says:

    My question is, if he’s telling the truth, how could he possibly find 100 legitimate publishers that publish his genre of work? The answer: he couldn’t possibly find 100 legitimate publishers. Somebody’s been querying some scammers…

  4. Rejection is tough, and to be brought up short by an editor who tells him his query letter needs refinement can push large egos over the edge. They lash out and tell some whopper stories about how “in demand” they are. I’ve seen this a number of times. It’s pathetic.

    This gent may very well have some editors who are interested. Vanity presses are always looking for more victims…

  5. Lorelei says:

    Let me guess, he is entertaining offers from Lulu, PublishAmerica, and Tate.

  6. Thank you, Lynn for making me smile on this cold and snowy morning. And wake me up when this guy gets to the top of the NY Times bestsellers’ list.

  7. Mary Hoffman says:

    Aaaaargh! The world is full of people who are full of it.

    Happy Christmas, Lynn. I don’t think you’ll need to wake Sally up this century.


  8. Brian Clegg says:

    A fantasist, I would say, Lynn.

    One thing I’m a bit curious about is this whole business about copyright. When submitting direct I’ve always taken your line that we all know it’s copyright and there’s no need to irritate an editor by emphasising it. But I notice my agent does always stick an ‘All rights reserved’ notice on the front page of my agented submissions. Is this the sort of thing you mean, or was it a more explicit ‘don’t you dare copy this’ type comment?

  9. Pelotard says:

    What bugs me about these things is the rationale behind his actions. What exactly is he hoping to achieve with this email? Does he think you’ll change your mind? Does he expect an apology? It’s like yelling at the referee; it’s never been known to work, it’s often been known to backfire.

  10. Marian says:

    “4 of those asked me not to contact other publishers.

    I sent them all a full copy.”

    So, wait, he sent a query to a hundred publishers, and four of them asked him not to even query others? Before they had even read his full?


  11. Claire Ryan says:

    I think if we follow the train of logic here, it turns out to be more tragic than humourous.

    He sends out a hundred submissions. He gets twelve hits out of that hundred who want his manuscript. Twelve! That’s twelve chances to get published! We should all be so lucky. Why, then, would he take the time to respond to Lynn at all? Shouldn’t he be going back to those twelve and doing whatever he needs to do to get his book in the stores?

    I think he did send out submissions, but got no hits or maybe only vague interest. Shock and horror – his masterpiece is not the work of high art he thinks it is! Those editors/agents must be deluded!

    He opens Lynn’s response, and her note regarding copyright is like a red flag to a bull. Out of all his rejections, he singles her out and makes a feeble attempt to rub her nose in it, making up numbers to impress upon her how she has lost the chance to publish his bestseller and make enormous piles of cash. Then he sits back, happy that justice has been served and he will someday find an agent/editor who really understands his genius.

    See what I mean? Tragic.


  12. Brian: I see the “all rights reserved” on the title page from time to time, and this is perfectly fine. I’m talking about the query letter, where his first sentence hit me with this:

    Information in these sample chapters is copyrighted. I am writing to seek your help, advice, representation, publication, and/or distribution of the book Thief. Please do not copy or distribute without permission.

    Now, that’s just a blatant, in-your-face, I’m in idiot mode.

    Pelo: What is he hoping to achieve? Well, he’s delusional. Authors who do this sort of thing usually are. Their egos outweigh their abilities, and they need to strike back in order to retain their sense of balance – that they really are ok, and that stupid meany of an editor doesn’t know what she’s talking about. It’s a ready, fire, aim kind of thing.

    Marian, Claire: You both hit it on the head. Knowing what I know of the business, this Cinderella story is too fantastical even for me. He used to be a thief, which is what his story was about, so I feel he’s pretty comfortable with being loosey goosey with the truth…

  13. Scott says:

    Is it wrong that I laughed out loud at this one? I guess the author’s never heard the old ‘don’t burn your bridges’ theory . . . and said author was quite snippy. I wonder what would happen when, on the way to the recycle bin, the Beagle dropped the manuscript out a window and it fluttered here, there, and everywhere? I mean, things like that can happen if the Beagle’s been testing the margaritas.


  14. Naw, laugh all you want. It’s evil, but sometimes that’s all you can do, yanno?

    And don’t you be giving the beagle any ideas! Besides, I would have to print the mess out, and no way would I waste the ink and paper.

  15. Scott says:

    Your poor beagle is so mistreated! : )


  16. Ryk E. Spoor says:

    This was one of my best laughs of the season!

    So Mr. SooooperGeeeenyus “emailed” 100 publishers. An unknown guy EMAILS 100 publishers. And 17 respond in DAYS. Including some that want him “not to contact other publishers”.

    Apparently he’s unaware of the Way Things Work. In SOOOO many ways. I’m not sure I could FIND a hundred publishers interested in my genre (I write SF/F novels), and I’m SURE most of them want *physical* submissions to their slush pile.

    And with the nature of slush, in many cases two or three MONTHS will constitute lightning-fast response.

    *snort* Either lying, delusional, or simply rude and SO NAIVE that SooperGeeeeeenyus doesn’t realize that “PublishAmerica” isn’t a real publisher at all…

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