Number One Reason for Rejection

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Jul 05 2011

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.


17 responses to “Number One Reason for Rejection”

  1. Avatar Laura says:

    What do you suppose is the number one reason manuscripts get rejected?

  2. Avatar T. Wolfe says:

    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

  3. Avatar Betty Bolte says:

    Is it worth resubmitting a query that's been revised/polished/energized on a book you've passed on already? Or is that a waste of time on both parties?

  4. Avatar Anonymous says:

    You have to know how to package that bologna just right in order to sell it.

  5. You're right. But it doesn't make it any easier to capture.

  6. Avatar Fawn Neun says:

    Start with the sizzle ~ then deliver the sausage.

  7. Avatar Laila Knight says:

    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.

  8. Avatar Anonymous says:

    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.

  9. Yeah, I can see that as a good reason to reject queries. The problem is trying to pitch the manuscript idea in an interesting way while still trying to be true to the manuscript. I suppose query writing is a talent like everything else. Thanks for the post. 🙂

  10. 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.

  11. Avatar Anonymous says:

    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.

  12. thanks a lot for the post! very interesting!

  13. Avatar Adrienne says:

    I think querying comes down to sales, and sales is not my strong suit. That's why I don't work in retail any more.

  14. Avatar Jen Daiker says:

    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 🙂

  15. Avatar Ty says:

    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.

  16. Avatar jesse says:

    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.

  17. Avatar Yahors says:

    There are always different reasons and stuff about them.