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Number One Reason for Rejection

I suspect the number one reason queries get rejected is because they’re boring. Either you aren’t telling me what the pivotal moment, the conflict, the most exciting thing about your book is or you just don’t have one. If you want an agent to read your book, if you want readers to buy your book, you need to get them excited about it.


Category: Blog



  1. I'm guessing that my query is my biggest problem and sadly I am at a loss as to how to fix it. I know there are a ton of sites out there that tell you how to write a good query but I must be dense since I'm not getting it. LOL

  2. This post makes a lot of sense. There are so many books out there, so the author needs to capture the attention of the agents, publishers and readers with something exciting.

  3. Now that is pretty darn honest. I think I'd like an agent to hit me with that truth and tell me that they've rejected my query for that reason. "Your query was boring." Then I'd be compelled to fix it.

  4. I would submit (though I get the intention of the post) that the ability to write a successful query has about as much in common with being able to write good books as writing a good resume has to do with being a good electrician.

    Two totally different skills. If you don't think so, you probably aren't very good at one or the other.

    Creative writing and query writing are not the same thing. If your query sucks, you need to learn how to write a query – not simply try to take your fiction writing skills and crush your book down to 150 words. It is never going to work.

    Unfortunately, when you say the words 'practice' and 'learn' to writers they turn into precious little 'artists' and throw hissy fits.

    Remember folks, if it was easy – everyone would do it.

  5. I think the problem for a lot of people is panicking over trying to fit in everything that's just oh so important about the book into a concise space and losing all voice and soul the book has in the process. There's a delicate balance to be found between enticing the agent without saying too much or too little.

  6. I've seen some query letters in the early editing stage — one of the forums — and bad writing stands out. I don't know that their novels look that way, but it's amazing how quickly my eyes gloss over.

  7. What's funny is at the beginning of the querying process (the first round) I would have said you're wrong (part of being an unknowing writer). Now that I've written two more stories, written a new query, and HAD FUN WITH IT. I feel that agents will as well.

    I've sent it off to several people and though everyone wants to make a few tweaks they all insist the personality shines through. And I have one very quirky personality. Let's hope they're right. I look forward to entertaining you 🙂

  8. I think Kristin nailed it:

    "I think the problem for a lot of people is panicking over trying to fit in everything that's just oh so important about the book into a concise space and losing all voice and soul the book has in the process."

    It's a writer going, "I know my book is CHOCK FULL of SUPER AWESOME that you JUST WON'T BELIEVE," so the query is an expository infodump where 90% of the nouns are completely meaningless to anyone besides the writer.

  9. This is the agent blog topic de jour.
    Nathan Bransford proposed a similar theory last week. Rachelle Gardner agreed, but added a crowded market place argument. Her royal sharkiness, and her cat, think you've nailed it.

    As you've all said approximately the same thing, it is difficult to ignore. Nobody wants to admit that their book/query is boring, but understanding the problem, and accepting failure, is a necessary part of creating a solution.

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