Write Better. Right Now.

What To Do With A Rejected Manuscript

Dear Barbara,

I finished my first manuscript just after my first son was born and have been fielding rejection letters ever since. My game plan was to find an agent first, but that is proving difficult. Agents normally ask for more of my manuscript upon reading my query letters, but I can’t seem to get them to ask for much more after that. I’ve had some in the industry point to a little POV problem throughout the chapters, but that’s about it. Many say I have a strong voice and should keep pursuing this but it’s discouraging. Should I continue working on this particular manuscript and resubmit or should I chalk it up to my first go and work on another piece? I’m very excited about the book and want to keep trying, but I’m afraid of annoying agents by resubmitting my material. Please give me your advice.

Thank you for your help.


Rejection Weary

Dear Rejection Weary,

First off, it’s encouraging that agents are asking to see more of your story based on your query letter. That means you have an interesting, potentially saleable idea. However, if an agent doesn’t suggest revisions and specifically ask to see the manuscript again, then you shouldn’t requery the same agent with that particular story.

Continuing to work on an idea or moving on to something else, is an individual choice. But while making that decision, it’s important to remember that every chapter, every manuscript, everything word you write has an important purpose in the development of your career. Not all stories are destined to be published. But that doesn’t mean they haven’t done their part.

I wrote a manuscript in 1999 titled After The Kiss. The complete was requested by an editor. It got me signed with an agent. And it won my first Golden Heart award. It was never published, but I don’t regret one second of the time I spent writing and rewriting it. Nor do I regret any of the time I spent writing the three manuscripts that came before After The Kiss. They taught me to write, and they taught me to craft a saleable story.

Consider working on any identified weaknesses in your writing–you mentioned POV. At the same time, when you’re ready, look at moving onto the next piece. Very few novelist sell their first novel, but they all write one. Packing up your first novel, thanking it for its contribution to your career, and putting it under the bed is a sign of growth and development as an author. It’s the end of an important phase, but the beginning of an even better one.

Good luck! And thanks for writing.


Barbara Dunlop
Barbara Dunlop penned--well pencilled, actually--her first major work of fiction at the age of eight. It was entitled How The Giraffe Got His Long Neck and was released to rave reviews. Unfortunately, the print run of one copy hindered distribution. But the experience whet her appetite for celebrity and acclaim. Several years after that, she began writing romantic comedy. Barbara is now an award winning and best-selling author, writing for several Harlequin and Silhouette imprints. Her work is available in ten languages and in dozens of countries around the world.

Latest Blog Posts

Write better. Right now.