The Wild Rose Press is known for its kinder more personal rejections—a vast difference from those received from some publishing houses. My first impersonal one read something like: Dear Author, Your story does not fit our publishing house at this moment. We wish you all the best in finding the right place for your manuscript. Sincerely, The Editing Team. Wow, I wondered why it didn’t fit. I wondered what they were looking for. I wondered if they even read it. Many more followed that first one, never giving me any insight into what I had done wrong.
I was depressed for two days after my first rejection. No, not the ones I received, the first one I wrote. As heartbreaking as getting a rejection, writing one is much more difficult. I agonize over every word, worried I may be crushing someone’s dreams.
That’s why each letter I write is so tough and definitely not a task I relish. And whether it is an established author or a new one, the letter is still the same. The author should know why the story wasn’t quite ready for publication at TWRP. Could it have been in need of more showing and less telling? How about an adjustment on the amount of points of view? Does the sexual tension need to be increased? Was the plot good, but the mechanics needed some work? Maybe it was an overused plot. Or the manuscript lacked any type of proofreading. And in historicals, the accuracy plays a big part in acceptance or rejection, especially vocabulary. Someone from the Wild West isn’t going to say okey-doke. It wouldn’t fit the time period. (FYI – Okey-dokey wasn’t used until 1932.)
When doing a rejection, I make sure I’ve addressed the author by name, and that I’ve spelled it correctly. Next, I’ll look over my notes in track changes and write a paragraph for each major error I have noted. Finally, I’ll look them over again, just to make sure I haven’t missed anything. For the newer authors, I may direct them towards TWRP Greenhouse or suggest finding a critique partner. TWRP also has a critique group called The Rose Trellis. I’ll also include with the rejection letter a self-editing guide sheet. My established authors get the same helpful letters—a letter of suggestions, not criticism.
And still, knowing I’ve done my best to help the author, the anguish continues as I place my cursor over the send button and press. So, when you receive a rejection from any editor at TWRP, please realize we want to help you to continue blooming and growing so that you will become or remain a WRP rose.
As I always say at the end of my letters, I wish you all the best in your writing endeavors.