Tuesday, April 27, 2010

About Rejections (Part 3 of 9)

Why do editors reject our manuscripts? Aside from personal taste, here are what I consider the two most common reasons.

1. It wasn't well written. Too many writers seem satisfied with their work. Today the word entitlement reflects that attitude. "I worked hard on that article and I think it's good. Therefore. . . "

2. The writing or the material isn’t distinctive. Here’s an example of what I mean by that statement. A few months ago, I received a book manuscript from a writer who wanted me to endorse it. He was thoroughly orthodox and totally boring. Everything he wrote was true, but most of the illustrations probably originated with Tolstoy or Dickens. Today’s writers need a fresh approach to any topic.

By contrast, I wanted to write an article about getting an agent. That’s usually considered ho-hum material because articles like that appear annually in most writers magazines. How could I make my article different? Simple. I shifted focus and called it, "Why Would an Agent Want Me for a Client?" The editor bought it and I’ve had the article reprinted several times.

Was my article better written than others? Probably not, but it was distinctive. I took a different approach and that made it stand out.

You don't have any new truth to offer; you can write from an original perspective.


  1. Great thoughts today Cec, as always!!


  2. Thanks for the wisdom, and your example of using a different approach. I've seen this many times in books or articles. I'll think, "What she says isn't novel, but I love the way she says it. That's what captures my attention."

  3. I'm enjoying this series, Cec. Thanks for generously sharing these encouraging words.



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