Or: How to properly read a rejection letter.
Thanks for submitting your BookLife project (Zinovy's Journey) to be considered for a Publishers Weekly review. Despite the strength of your project, our editors have decided not to send it out for review.
We hope you won't be discouraged by this, and that you'll continue to take advantage of BookLife's articles, how-tos and self-evaluations to help make your project a success. We also hope you'll submit future projects for Publishers Weekly review consideration as well.
I love this letter! I'm delighted with it! Encouraged, even.
Here are three reasons:
1. I got a response!
Booklife is the Indie publishing review branch of PublishersWeekly, so it's a big thing that I've gotten any kind of attention from them at all. According to their website, they receive over a thousand books a month for review. Wow! That's a lot. Yet they've responded to this one.
Oh, all right, they probably respond to them all. They pay somebody to send these e-mails. But still, they've written to me, and they've even called me by my first name. How sweet is that? It's almost like we're friends!
2. I got a compliment!
"Despite the strength of your project. . ."
What a great beginning for a rejection! My project is strong. I mean, I knew that, right? But it's good to have my expert opinion affirmed, by Publishers Weekly, no less.
They noticed. They took the trouble to point out to me that they noticed. They said something good about "the project."
3. I got encouragement!
"We hope you won't be discouraged by this," they say. They want me to "continue to take advantage of BookLife's articles, how-tos and self-evaluations. . ."
Of course, they want my "business." They don't want me to go away mad. But I can't help but read a bit of regret in this sentence. In fact, with very little imagination, I can convince myself that the person who rejected my manuscript was wishing they didn't have to.
And, even more encouraging, they "hope [I'll] submit future projects for Publishers Weekly review consideration as well." How about that! They're asking me to add more clutter to their pile of submissions. As if 1000 is not enough for one month!
No matter that I don't have any more projects to submit. This is it. This is the one I have to promote for now, and though Publishers Weekly won't be reviewing it, others will. Others have, in fact, reviewed this "project." Readers have said good things about the story, and readers are, after all, my target market.
So how do I look at this rejection letter? With great optimism. Zinovy's Journey may not be at the top of Publishers Weekly's list, but that doesn't mean it's not on other lists. As long as the story is on someone's reading list, I'm satisfied.
There's more than one way to read a rejection letter.