No, it’s not a new book by Dan Brown, it’s an earth shattering discovery revealed on an obscure website so secretive I’ll be hung from Blackfriar’s Bridge if I reveal its name. Every UK literary agent’s rejection letter contains a secret code.
You thought rejection letters were standard replies? You and me both. Assuming agents are too busy to reply in person to every indie hopeful and debut author, we all thought these letters were pre-written, which they are. But what we didn’t know is that the reason for rejection is contained within the carefully worded brush-offs. Read on to find the five main reasons they don’t want your novel.
1 – ‘we felt the work was not right for us’
meaning: Your novel doesn’t contain any of the stock characters necessary to provide a story with a left-leaning agenda necessary to enforce a middle class guilt trip. Orphans, widows, divorcees, recovering drug addicts, wealthy families who have ‘lost everything,’ people with an unusual affinity with inanimate objects, snow, bricks, slices of bread etc.
2 – ‘we need to feel enthusiasm for the authors we represent’
meaning: your surname/address suggests you might be ordinary and will ultimately embarrass us when we introduce you to the London literary establishment and Jonathan Frenzen.
3 – ‘another agent may be interested in your work’
meaning: some agents actually employ non-interns, but they obviously have more money than sense. We, on the other hand, prefer to avoid vulgarities like profit and strive to maintain a business model that relies on posh people pretending to work for a living.
4 – ‘we’re not in a position to represent you at the moment’
meaning: come back. and try again after you have completed our expensive in-house creative writing course.
5 – no reply whatsoever
meaning: you don’t live in north London so you’re simply not worth bothering with.
The website also revealed the secret meaning behind the coded message ‘US authors may find it more beneficial to approach US agents and publishers.’
meaning: we’re sick of reading third-rate YA rubbish written by bored grown-ups who enjoyed watching The Hunger Games.
When approached, UK literary agent Connor Feddlestone of Feddlestone Hurley Burleigh said ‘This is news to me. The main reason we reject unsolicited manuscripts is because the author doesn’t know how to spell sado-masochist.’