The Rejection Letter

Following a GoodReads discussion forum about the relative merits of Professional published writers, Indie Published writers and Self Published writers I dropped in the following Rejection Letter from a leading publishing house to a Mr Bill Shakespeare.

Dear Bill,

We are sorry to tell you that you proposed work of Romeo and Juliet is not acceptable in its current format. Significant changes are required to the plot such as the removal of the under-age sex, violence and suicide. This is not the type of work we can currently carry. As you know we already have similar writers such as Robert Marlow on our books and we would not wish to impact his potential sales.

Writing in verse is of course challenging to many readers, however, clever it may appear to you, it will significantly limit your potential sales. Your poetry is simplistic and lacks rhythm and we have no interest in your collection of so called sonnets. As for your proposed plot outline for A Midsummer’s Night Dream, we are not a fantasy publisher but we doubt very much whether such a story with a lead character of a donkey would appeal to anyone! Please don’t trouble us again

Yours etc.

Hope that made you smile now it’s time to


Now I appreciate that I am be a little harsh on major publishing houses but… why not. They like the music and movie/film industry still haven’t woken up to the new technology driven world. The best live news is now provided by mobile phone footage. Music is prepared and published in home studios and the methods of distribution have changed dramatically. The production of books, certainly in electronic format is a significant departure from the previous business model. This does not mean that traditional publishing houses, music producers or movie studios cannot continue to exist, but in recent years they seem to act as no more than marketing companies rather that a sign of a quality gatekeeper. Other better commentators have written about this and the snobbish way many publishing houses behave. I refer you to this excellent blog as an example.

My point is, and I do have a point, Publishers need to wake up and smell the roses/coffee. Employing interns to write reviews for their authors, bribing media reviewers via social book launches, gala nights access to advance copies is just that a bribe and could be considered a giant fraud perpetuated on the actual buying public. Who should I trust? A reviewer to attended a drinks and canapés book launch ,got a free copy, maybe stayed in a nice hotel who then writes gushingly about a book, or the avid reader who paid for a book with hard earned cash. Should I believe a book labelled as The No: One Bestseller when it has only just launched to hundreds of immediate online reviews, or the slow burning self published book with mixed reviews that hasn’t had a single advert. If Bill was writing today how would he publish his plays and sonnets? How would Charlie Dickens? Would he be serialised in a newspaper or on a blog that he created for himself. Would they be allowed onto a TV Show to promote their latest ghost written work or would they be stuck hoping that someone selects their latest kindle offering potentially as a freebie in the hope that someone may download it, read it and even review it or tell their friends about this little gem they have discovered.

I hope, and let’s face it I am in business of the latter, that my few readers read my book, whilst secretly hoping some major publisher will give me a call offering that publishing deal or that movie screenplay. With9,000 competitors each month, I know I have more chance of winning my prize on the lottery! So instead I’ll try and write some more self published fiction, I’ll try and promote my book by this and other social media, maybe even a self produced advert, although they hardly seem worth the effort. I live to see reviews good or bad because it means someone has at least taken the time to read my offerings.

What I am not going to do is submit my books for some publishing house to decide whether they are good enough to market, notice I said market not publish because lets face it. They don’t give xxxx about the quality of the work. They just want it to sell at their over inflated prices. STOP RANT>>

OK, back to the day job and even some writing, I have a story that Bill has asked me to review about incest and murder in Denmark, I’m just going to check with Bill whether with this plot outline a publisher will touch it. What was it called Bill? Hamlet or something, you’ll have to change the title I think they have it trade marked for a cigar, no I don’t care that you’ve spent years writing it, you cannot have that scene talking to a skull it’s just not realistic. Could you stick a car chase in in the opening scene, TV won’t touch it otherwise….

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