The reason for rejections from a Literary Agent

In 2009, Literary Agent Janet Reid decided to make public the reason why she had rejected or accepted 124 manuscripts. The results make interesting reading, so too do the comments after the post.

  • Just plain not good enough: 21 (a novel needs to be in the 99th percentile-these were closer to 90%–not bad, but not good enough)
  • Good premise, but the rest of the novel didn’t hold up: 11
  • Not compelling or vivid, or focused; no plot/tension: 10
  • Slow start or the pace was too slow: 9
  • I didn’t believe the narrative voice: 5
  •  Structural problems with the novel: 8
  • Interesting premise, but not a fresh or new take on familiar plots/tropes: 7
  • Had caricatures rather than characters: 2
  • Boring: 3
  • Grossed me out: 2
  • Major plot problems: 2
  • Needed more polish and editorial input than I wanted to do: 2
  • Good books but I couldn’t figure out where to sell them: 7
  • Got offer elsewhere; I withdrew from scrum: 2
  • Great writing, just not right for me: 2
  • Not right for me, refer to other agents: 9
  • Not quite there/send me the next one: 1
  • Sent back for revisions with editorial suggestions and I expect to see them again in 2010: 9
  • Getting second read at FPLM: 1
  • Got offer from me: 2
You can read her post here.