Top 10 Reasons Why BookEnds Rejected Your Submission

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Apr 12 2017

1. The voice doesn’t fit the genre. We find this happens a lot in Middle Grade especially where voice is especially important, and difficult to grasp.

2. The language doesn’t fit the genre. Picture book language must be specific to picture books, cozy mysteries tend not to have a lot of swearing, and young adult language shouldn’t sound like adults speaking for kids.

3. Pretentiousness in the voice or narration in a way that turns the reader off.

4. Telling the story instead of showing it. For a book to be successful we need to get outside of the author’s head and see the scene and the characters.

5. Pacing problems.

6. Unsympathetic or unlikable characters.

7. The plot heads in an unexpected, but not desirable direction.

8. The plot doesn’t make sense, you’ve filled the book with character descriptions and background, but you’ve forgotten that every scene needs to move the story forward in a way that makes sense to the reader.

9. Gratuitous anything. Violence, sex, language–things that are there to shock, but don’t actually add to the story.

10. Weak plotting, underdeveloped characters or an unpolished manuscript.

11. Lack of world-building.

12. Too many characters.

7 responses to “Top 10 Reasons Why BookEnds Rejected Your Submission”

  1. Avatar Ana Calin says:

    I love this list! So, so, so love it! Somebody had to say it. It’s not pretty, but it’s SPOT ON. I’m outside my comfort zone now with my new manuscript that’s a tiny bit different than I’ve done so far, and boy, sometimes I need hours for a page simply because the language doesn’t come as easily. Keeping it consistent is hard. A “tiny bit” different often requires a readjusting of all the points you listed here.

  2. Avatar Kat says:

    Why am I seeing this? I’ve never sent them anything. And have never gotten an unsolicited rejection!

  3. Avatar AJ Blythe says:

    Interesting list. I think I’m aware of everything in the list – but being aware and actually applying can be different things. I hope I’m not stumbling on any of them!

  4. Avatar Hope Rowe says:

    Of course they and we know this is meretricious and deceptive nonsense.
    Anything gets that has the smell of profit will be fully endorsed by a “literary agent”.
    Even snooker stars will get a book deal to write for children.
    Slappers and pop stars….
    Is Dan or Lee a talented writer?
    Think again.
    At least this clique of privileged London business people could be honest about their business.
    Of course there are many good books and authors; if you went to the right university or even dinner party.

  5. […] rejections can make writers crazy. Jessica Faust gives the top 10 reasons why BookEnds Agency rejects manuscripts, and Parul Macdonald shares 6 myths and truths of what an editor at a publishing house looks […]

  6. […] of the things that will get you an automatic rejection from most agents—and a swift toss to the DNF pile from a lot of readers—is an unsympathetic character. […]