I just got a form rejection letter back from a publisher. It made me want to cry, so I shredded it up and threw it away. A friend says I shouldn’t have done that. He says writers should keep every rejection they get. Why would I want to? They’re painful to look at!

Painful though a rejection letter may be, there are valid reasons to keep them tucked in a file somewhere. While a standard form letter rejection may not have anything personalized on it at all (your author name, the name of your submission or specific suggestions as to why the publisher has chosen to reject the piece), it still has information you may need later: the editor’s name and title.

If you get form with no date on it, write the date you received it in pencil on the letter somewhere.

You never know what will happen tomorrow or next month or next year. You may elect to try that publisher again, but avoid that same editor. Or maybe you’ll submit to this editor when he/she has moved across town to a different publishing house, with more lines or different guidelines.

The longer you actively submit, the more you’ll see the value in keeping documentation of everywhere you’ve queried or submitted work and all responses you get from agents or editors. If you applied for a job at a major corporation and were dismissed during the interview, would you walk out the door, turn around and go back in and immediately apply again? Authors who don’t keep track of submissions and rejections are in danger of looking just that unprofessional.

What does it mean when a tipsheet says “no multiple submissions”? Does that mean they won’t look at two different novels from the same author?

Most houses won’t do that, preferring to consider one project at a time. But what the phrase usually means is the house doesn’t want to review a work you’ve also submitted to someone else. They expect you to give them an exclusive look, and should they discover you’ve submitted that same manuscript elsewhere they may reject it.


Shannah Biondine
Historical & Paranormal Romances
Official Romance Guide,

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