Good Writer? Here’s Why You Get Rejected Anyway

good writer
Photo by geralt on Pixabay

Rejection from publishers is something that virtually every good writer will experience in their career at some point. In fact, some professional writers acquire so many rejection letters could paper their walls with them. It’s difficult not to get discouraged by these personally hurtful little pieces of mail. But rest assured: Rejection letters often have no bearing on the quality of your writing.

5 reasons a good writer never sees their work in print

#1: Poor publisher fit

A publisher accepts a book only when it fits their catalog well. At the most basic level, this means you have to submit to publishers that produce your manuscript’s genre. Don’t submit a science fiction novel to a romance publisher, for example, no matter how confident you are you’ve written the greatest thing since Star Wars.

#2: Overflow submissions

You also have to explore what the publisher is producing at the current time. The manuscripts a publisher receives vary over given periods. A publisher who publishes biographies, for instance, might get 100 biographies one year and 1,000 the next. If the publisher has an overflow of a certain type of work, then it can be much pickier about what manuscripts it selects to meet the publishing goals. Your odds of having an agent or publisher select your manuscript go down as a result. Publishers may even announce that they are no longer accepting submissions within the genre that has the overflow.

The simple solution is to do a bit of research prior to submitting your proposal package to the publisher. Look on their website or use resources such as Writer’s Market to determine the types of titles and plots the publisher has put out recently. Then analyze whether your manuscript fits one or more of the publisher’s immediate production needs. You need to be able to show that your manuscript fits what the publisher is doing and thus prove marketability. At the same time, you also need to be able to show how your manuscript has fresh ideas.

#3: Quitting too soon

Some publishers reject a good writer not because of improper publisher/genre/manuscript matching, but because the writer quits working when they write the last chapter of the text. They construct a so-so query letter that doesn’t catch the editor’s eye, has basic grammar or spelling errors, and that doesn’t truly summarize the plot or the author’s experience. No query letter can be completely cookie cutter because ideally, you should customize each query letter to the publisher you send it to. But every query letter needs to prove your competence. It also must have an excellent hook and flawless presentation. As you try to promote your work, don’t make the mistake of judging the manuscript on the editor’s behalf within the query. Let the editor decide for himself whether you’ve got a text that could propel you to fame.

#4: Not knowing for sure you are a good writer

Agents and publishers sometimes can’t publish great writing because, quite simply, writers don’t take a chance on themselves. For whatever reason, they don’t think what they’ve written will make the cut, or they are afraid of the possible rejection editors can give. Subsequently, they submit nothing and never get to see what they write in print. Meanwhile, less-worthy texts find places on bookstore shelves.

#5: Poor time fit

Publication also can evade amazing writers because the writing isn’t right for the time. For example, modern readers might label people who write in the style of Charles Dickens as too archaic and complex, even though scholars consider Dickens’ work to be classic.

With the right preparation and follow through, your books can hit online and physical stores

Finding solutions to these issues isn’t always easy. But you can do your best to send your manuscript to the publisher most likely to need it. You can customize and perfect your queries. You can get feedback on the manuscript to build your confidence before you submit it. And you can be mindful of the market, researching what sells and what doesn’t. All you have to do is start.