This is one rejection letter we were obliged to write. We liked the pitch and asked to see the manuscript. And thus came the issues. We had to turn it down. So, how does a publisher do that? Often with a form letter (publishers receive massive amounts of submissions) and can’t get this personal with each. But sometimes you want to…and sometimes you just have to. This is just one such “have to”:
Good morning, ———.
We have decided to pass on your manuscript as it now stands. We thought the topic itself to be timely and felt you made some good points. Your introduction, your raison d’êtra, was very nicely done and enjoyable, and your “voice” shown through clearly.
However, we found we simply would not have the time to edit the entire manuscript and do it justice; we could see at least two years of intense work on both our parts. As publishers, we take gambles. We never know what will or won’t sell. We make decisions and hope we’ve made good ones.
It is our job to make sure the material we represent is at its best so that we can sell it and make a profit for both ourselves and our authors. It must differentiate itself in the marketplace from other offerings in several ways and on several levels. Our goal is to always make sure of that. We want our authors to always look their best, therefore we will never rush or just put something out there. Anything we look at is eyed with a view to how much time we must put in balanced with the prospects for selling to as wide an audience as possible.
It was the organization of the material itself that caused the most problems for us. Anyone who has worked on a book as long as you have, and who has changed and/or refined their opinions throughout that time, is bound to miss all the updates on a particular topic thus making the reading confusing. This is a natural state of writing and affects both fiction and non-fiction writers.
We’ve even had authors change main characters’ names halfway through and didn’t even realize it. We’ve had non-fiction authors list different dates for the same event. Memory is a funny thing. It is our job to catch those things and smooth them out…also known as fixing.
To your manuscript:
Specifically, arguments for and against were not as cohesive as they could have been. Opinions, offered as proofs, were in places that did not fit. Many were not identified as opinions but as facts with no supporting arguments or reasonings offered nearby. Thus, we felt the overall point you wanted to make was buried in a seemingly random flow. Yet we caught glimpses every now and then of what this book could be.
Far be it from us to tell you to change what you’ve written. We are merely giving you our independent view and letting you know the pressures that we face with every submission we get. This is purely a business decision on our part and is not in any way a reflection on you personally, the worth of your material, your education, or your erudition.
We thank you for thinking of us and hope you may find the publisher that will be a better fit.