Receiving nonacceptance responses comes with learning how to be a professional, published writer.
Editors and agents rarely give reasons for saying no to manuscripts. (And that’s another aspect of the learning curve—your figuring out why.) Here are general reasons for not having your manuscript accepted:
- Wrong publisher or wrong topic. They send a novel to an agent who represents only nonfiction writers. Or they write a political piece for an ezine that only wants personal experiences.
- Wrong slant or treatment. They may correctly send a manuscript on the right issue or theme, but take the wrong approach. For example, they might make a case for euthanasia for a publisher who takes the opposite perspective.
- Wrong approach. That usually means their piece isn’t distinctive enough. The material reads like 35 other such submissions. Today’s editors want a distinctive slant to everyday problems.
- Poor writing. Poor grammar, unclear thinking, an illogical presentation. That makes a strong argument for working with other writers.
- Unprofessional looking. Publishers have standards for all manuscripts they receive. And they’re easy enough to learn and are usually published on their website.
- The publisher recently did something on that topic or assigned it to a professional writer.