Rejection letter

A rejection letter is a form of communication, print or otherwise, indicating the refusal of assent (viz: rejection) of a recommended course. There are numerous types and subtypes of rejection letters.

Types of rejection letters


A book or article submitted for publication nearly always results in a rejection letter. Unlike college or job rejections, a literary rejection letter normally comes enclosed in an envelope originally included with the manuscript, stamped and addressed to one's self. Literary rejection letters are so common, and so diverse, that authors often, as consolation, rank some letters as better than others. In this sense, a "good" rejection letter is a kind of relative acceptance.

Two or three months will often pass between an author's submission and a publisher's rejection. Acceptance letters, by contrast, are often much more prompt. Since a rejection should, by all rights, take less time than an acceptance, it has been suggested that publishers purposefully delay sending rejections as a courtesy to other publishers. Since publishers tend to be swamped by submissions, a turnover rate of three months, instead of three weeks, reduces the overall flow.


Some of the kinds of literary rejection letters include, from best to worst:

* The personalized rejection, ideally enclosed in a new envelope by the publisher. The ideal personalized rejection typically includes criticism and praise of the work, suggestions for improvement, suggestions for other venues, genuine sorrow that business conditions prevent publication, etc. Handwritten letters are considered the best of all, as they prove that no computers were used to generate the missive.

* The standard form letter. This letter typically reads, "Dear Mr. Smith, Your manuscript, "Two Blinkies without a Bitey", while informative and well-researched, did not fit in well with our current schedule of releases, etc, etc." The standard form letter is characterized by diverting blame away from the quality of the book, or the judgment of the editors, and towards the incompatibility of the manuscript with the publisher's existing books, or the great many excellent books that also appeared on the editor's desk that day, or the misalignment of the manuscript and the publisher's target audience, etc. The standard form letter often contains the following:

:* References to the "The Literary Marketplace," a book containing addresses of publishers and agents. This is an indication that the publisher's form letter has been unchanged since the birth of the internet, which has made "The Literary Marketplace" quite obsolete.

:* Suggestions of acquiring a literary agent.

:* Well-wishing to the extent that the publisher hopes that the manuscript be successful elsewhere, in order to "Find the right home," as if it were homeless.

* The mass-printed letter. This is identical to the standard form letter, with the difference that the author's name and book title are omitted. Hence, "Dear Writer" is used instead of "Dear Mr. Smith."

* The mass-photocopied letter. This is identical to the mass-printed letter, with the difference that a photocopier, rather than a printer is used to generate the letter. This lends to a slow deterioration in the quality of the letter, as the original master is lost and replaced by previously generated copies. In addition, the mass-photocopied letter sometimes becomes the most hated of all rejection letters: The thumbprint rejection. This occurs when a clerical worker's thumbprint appears ever-so-lightly on the original copy of the letter. Then, as generated letters become master letters, the thumbprint becomes darker and darker (as photocopiers tend to bring out slight impressions) until it is a very obvious, very dark smudge.

* The scribble-on-the-cover-letter rejection. This is often very simple: The editor simply writes "No thanks" on the author's cover letter, and sends it back. It should be noted that detailed remarks instead of "No thanks" can elevate the prestige of this form of rejection.

* The nonexistent rejection. Common in other fields, the nonexistent, or implied, rejection is considered very bad form in publishing, as many authors follow the industry practice of waiting for a rejection before re-submitting a manuscript elsewhere.


A job applicant may not necessarily be rejected by letter. Very often, no rejection at all is made, but a simple understanding that a drop in communications is equivalent to rejection. Occasionally, a job interviewee will be rejected on the spot after an interview, rather than notified by mail. In addition, email is becoming an increasingly common way to reject job applicants.


Students typically apply to a number of colleges, and generally refer to acceptance and rejection letters as "fat" and "thin", referring to the size of the envelope. An acceptance letter typically contains numerous forms and other materials of interest. Rejection letters are typically one piece of paper.


Rare among adults, youth in love will sometimes proposition potential sweethearts by mail, insisting upon an acceptance or rejection of romantic intent.

External links

* [ Literary Rejections On Display]

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