“No” can take many forms, as can be seen by sifting through the stack of rejection letters I’ve received from publishers over the years. Here are some actual quotes.
• We regret to inform you …
• We appreciate your interest …
• Due to current commitments …
• Please forgive this form letter …
• It has been a joy over the years to see the many beautiful and unique expressions of God’s creativity that people from all over the world have shared with us …
• Dear writer …
But my name is Patrick
• Dear Jane …
• It’s not right for us.
• Your work has not been chosen for publication.
• It is not a book we could take on at the present time.
• In the end, it wasn’t something we felt strongly enough about.
At least they’re paying attention
• Thank you for submitting …
• Thank you once again for submitting …
The diplomatic approach
• I think it’s wonderful, but I don’t see how it would work in our hands.
• Our editorial board does not think we could do justice to your efforts.
• Though your ideas are very interesting, we feel we must pass on this.
• Although I love your dry sense of humor, I don’t think that this story is right for us.
• This is a delightful book that I don’t have a clue what to do with.
• I think you’ve got a fascinating idea here and one that could sell well if you can find the company that can sell such a thing.
How about something with mice?
• I really like the little mice, but we have had no success with rodents.
• I’m sure by now you’ve made a deal elsewhere.
• We encourage you to continue submitting this package to other companies.
• I have no doubt you’ll find someone else to publish it.
A bit more direct
• We just didn’t find it catchy enough.
• I’m afraid I did not see the material clearly.
• I just didn’t respond emotionally to this story.
• Your submission was not considered particularly humorous by our personnel.
• I’m pretty quirky, and like a good laugh, but this is a bit strange, even to me.
A publishing exec named Roy Wandelmaier, while rejecting a proposal, asked if I’d like to create something his company had a lot of success with, a maze book. Maze•Mania and five titles that followed combined to sell over a million copies.