Rejection Letter: Four Reasons

Uggg…The rejection letter. Even the bestselling authors can talk about all the times someone rejected them. How can authors overcome this, even when agents and publishers are tougher than ever?

There are four reasons you were rejected:

1. Story or idea was not appealing.

2. Marketing plan was weak. (Or the author did not have one.)

3. No or little audience.

4. Mechanics of the writing was sub-par.

Good news! I’m going to tell you how to fix these problems.

1. Strong Story/Idea:

* Test your manuscript with family and friends.

* You must show a few people in the publishing industry your work and have them give you feedback. (Please listen. They want you to succeed.)

* If you want to slam dunk what people want to read in a book, just ask. Then, write accordingly. (This idea worked for James Patterson.)

2. Marketing Plan

* There are marketing ideas in most of my blogs. Just pick a few and read them.

* Hire a marketing manager. (My manager is Melissa Link. You can email her at Be brief and to the point on your needs.)

* Ask these questions: “Who is my audience? Where is my audience? How will I reach my audience? What will I say to my audience? Why will my audience purchase my book?” These are the same questions the agent and publisher are asking. You must have the answer.

3. Build a Following:

* It is more impressive to have 5,000 followers in your local area, than all around the world. Knowing that, you should be out promoting yourself and shaking hands like a politician running for office.

* Once again, hiring a manager to market you and your book will build an audience.

* Post some of your work/books for free on your web site. How many people are visiting your web site every week? What are they saying about your books?

* In Facebook, start a “Fan Page.” That way, you can see the gender/age of your following, along with the amount of people on your page. That, along with those who follow you locally, will be your “target audience.” Agents and publishers need to know specifically the kind of people who will purchase your book.

4. Mechanics (Here is your Author 101 Lesson. Read at your own risk.)

* First and foremost, you must read everyday. That will fix 90% of your mechanics.

* First line must be powerful.

* First page must grab the readers attention.

* Natural dialogue between characters.

* Quick flow from one idea to the next.

* Short chapters. (2-4 pages.)

* Do not switch character point of view without a page break or chapter ending.

* Stick with 1st, 2nd, or 3rd person narrative.

* When telling the story, “Show” rather than “Tell.”

* Get rid of your adverbs. (“LY” words. Example: “He ran quickly from the fire.” Another example is at the end of dialogue: she said softly.)

* Do not overuse adjectives with description.

* Saying: God, Lord, or Jesus Christ too much in your book for dramatization is not good.

* Do not overuse exclamation points.

* Use the five senses as much as possible.

* Do not speak in other languages.

* Take out anywhere you said, “Very.”

* Watch out for places you overused, “And then.”

* Do not put anything in your book, that does not have to do with the story.

* Do not shove explanation down your readers throat.

* Keep your reader informed of what is happening in a scene. (There is a difference between “mystery” and “guessing.”)

* Do not use cliche’s. (“I’m in the twilight zone.” Or, “Maybe this is a nightmare.”)

* Real people make lousy characters.

* Your “fictional” characters should tell the story. You are just the person typing the words.

* Flashbacks are dangerous and slow down the book. Only experienced writers should use them.

* Know what you are talking about. (If your character is a pilot, research all aspects of what a pilot does and their personalities.)

* Make sure your character does not stand up twice in the same scene. Keep track of what is going on.

* Read your book out loud. If you stutter, so will your reader.

* Be careful of repeats. This comes in three forms: Words, ideas, and phrases.

* Continue to read authors in your genre.

* If you have not done at least ten re-drafts on your book, it is not ready.

Let me leave you with this uplifting quote by Kingsley Amis, “If you can’t annoy someone with what you write, I think there is little point in writing.”

Ron Knight

Author of “2-10”

Novelist, Reader, Co-Founder of UP Authors

Ron Knight

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  1. My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

  2. Ron Knight says:

    Thank you so much. We just ask that you continue to tell others about the blogs, so more authors can be helped.