My favourite rejection so far

This is part of the crime novel blog series, but it’s also the pioneer of some kind of masochistic sub-category or soul-baring splinter group. I’m regularly receiving rejection emails for my new crime novel, pretty much as expected because that’s how the world of an unknown author works, and the first [enter a number of your choice here] rejections I received were all drawn from the same generic “Thanks but no thanks” brush-off pool.

Then this one turned up today and I thought it was worth mentioning for several reasons. First, it’s personalised rather than being just another copy/paste “there’s the door” rejection. Secondly, it is incredibly positive, despite being what it is – a rejection. And finally, the reason cited for rejecting my work is not any kind of a criticism of my work. Have a read, see what you think. I’m expecting you’re going to want to read my book, but I could be wrong.

This is the main content of the rejection email, completely unedited:

Your opening chapters are very well done: cracking pace, plenty of tension, with credible characters and dialogue. But – I’m afraid there is a “but” – it’s so hard to sell new fiction in the current harsh climate, even well-written crime fiction like yours, that I just don’t think we’d succeed in persuading cautious editors to take you on.

Seriously, that’s far from bad. I’m not personally aware of this “current harsh climate” but I’m guessing that’s because I’m an unknown author with no real understanding of how there are dozens of new crime novels every time I look on a bestseller shelf in any book shop or supermarket, or Amazon.

From that rejection email, it seems to me that the problem here is “cautious editors”. I’m thinking that my book needs an editor who isn’t a timid mouse. Might that be you, or someone you know? If so, you know what you need to do.

If you are interested in finding out some more about this book, please get in touch via the contact page on this site. The same goes for anyone who fancies being a test reader, or just wants a free copy as soon as it is available.

Crime novel blog part 3


There’s a big difference between being able to write a book and being able to market it, convince pretty much anyone to read it, or get any interest at all in it from a literary agent. That’s what I’ve managed to figure out. It could be wildly inaccurate assumption based on limited experience, but I couldn’t tell you whether that’s the case or not because guess what – I do not know.

I also don’t know what I have to do to get past the kind of insta-rejection responses that I’m encountering when submitting my crime novel to agents. I’ve done all the right research, taken a great deal of care when writing my query letter and synopsis, and I’m not spamming loads of agents at once. I’m finding that the rejections come back quickly enough that I can afford to submit to no more than two agencies at the same time without feeling that I’m wasting time.

Test reader response has so far been extremely good. Personally, I believe I have finally found the genre where I always needed to be writing. I put off writing a crime novel for ages because that level of plotting scared me. Then I read a bunch of recent crime novels, where the titles on Amazon are always suffixed with something like “A gripping thriller with a twist you will not see coming”, and I knew that I could not just compete with these books but shoot bloody great holes through them.

For a start, I’m not using an unreliable narrator to tell the story. I don’t have drunk protagonists, or delusional ones, or ones who might not be the person they are telling the reader that they are. Because, frankly, that’s all just bollocks. I spent a long time figuring out who was going to do what to whom, and why (because that is very important), then I planned the whole thing out scene-by-scene to make sure there was no filler, no bullshit, no point where the reader would want to look up from the pages, let alone stop reading to make a cup of tea. I’m sorry if you miss that cup of tea, but that’s how it’s got to be.

My test readers keep telling me there’s an agent out there who will bite my hand off for this one, but I’m still not sure. It’s those damn rejections… they just seem to come back way too quickly. I suppose that’s the way life is for an unknown, debut author, and I just have to deal with it. I’ll just get on with writing the next one while I wait and wait and wait for someone to pick this one up.

If you are interested in finding out some more about this book, please get in touch via the contact page on this site. The same goes for anyone who fancies being a test reader, or just wants a free copy as soon as it is available.