Fifty Shades Of No

The jury is in. It’s a “no” on Black Heart’s Blood. 5 no-thanks out of 5. Depressing. You’d think writing a good book would be enough. But no. Then comes the pimping and fawning and waiting. Oh the bloody waiting…

But there was one good part. A nice silver lining (although I’d rather have the silver on the outside, and not in the bloody lining, but that’s just me). The final no, which came today, was actually very positive. As positive as a no can be in publishing. Most positive no ever. And here it is.


Thank you for letting me consider ‘YOUR BOOK’ and for your patience.

There are many fascinating ideas (and images) at the core of your novel and I quite like them.
However, I did not feel entirely convinced I could place ‘YOUR BOOK’ on your behalf in the current market conditions.

Please note that this is just my personal feeling, which should not discourage you in any way from submitting your book to as many agents as you can.

May I take this opportunity to wish you and your team the best of luck in your search for representation.


So, an agent is telling me to keep on sending the sucker out, and maybe I’ll get lucky. A professional admits that the book had promise. That’s actually quite huge. There will be fizzy spinny drinks tonight!

However … my team? What team? Do I have a team? How come nobody told me this? And I’ve been beavering away in private on the damn book for ages when I could have had a whole team on it!

You live and learn. And then you go lick some more envelopes.

/ paddy


12 thoughts on “Fifty Shades Of No

  1. In his fine book _On Writing_, Stephen King described the countless rejection slips he collected on a nail in the wall of this writing cubicle. Keep at it man!

  2. Paddy, no offense intended I assure you, but this time I’m going to try my darnedest best to make you sorely mad, just by principle. Leadership principle.

    When I interview people for airport statistics I can take twenty nos in a row, and I still know that at the end of the day I will have bagged about 75 interviews. If you give up after only five rejections (note carefully the very legend “The final no”) it’s about time you realized you’re not an author, never were one, and never will become one either. Once you’ve taken a hundred nos, or even a thousand nos, then you have earned the right to expect a yes from the next submission.

    At least you could break out some part of the novel and rewrite that into a short story, and have that published in the Asimov’s, the Analog or the F&SF. Then you could use that as an enticing tidbit to make the publishers more interested.

    Go for it! Or I’ll never again believe you’re an Irishman!


    • My God, good sir, do I mention giving up? No! This small grain of feedback will keep me sending it in for another 5 years. I know it’s good – now it’s just to find somebody in publishing who agrees with me!

      • That’s very good! But do I believe you? Frankly, from your posting, I’m not so sure. Your entire posting reads like a failed Lovecraft story. Once upon the time you had a lovely authorship. But that was many years ago. Now even the slimy monsters have left. They haven’t got the stamina to try slithering any more…

        Ominous music playing: It’s over…

        > The jury is in. It’s a “no”[…]. 5 no-thanks out of 5. Depressing. […] But there was one good part. […] The final no […] was actually very positive.

        That sounds to me like you’ve decided to give up. You’re thinking in absolute finalities. Or did you write it to make me believe that you’ve given up?


  3. Rolf: It doesn’t in any way mean I’ve given up. It’s means I’ve received replies from the first bunch of 5 agents. At the end of the article I say I will continue sending it out. Hence the envelope licking. Why on earth would I stop now?

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