Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 13, 2009

Alvina Ling Rejection Letters – What They Mean

Alvina Ling, Senior Editor at Little, Brown and Company talked today about rejection letters (oh! sorry she calls them decline letters) and what they mean on Blue Rose Girls. gse_multipart25543

There are six:

  • Form letters
  • Personalized form letter
  • Nice decline
  • Nice decline with invitation to submit future work
  • Nice decline with editorial notes
  • Nice decline with detailed comments, plus an offer to provide a full editorial letter and/or have a phone call regarding a revision with the author.

    She asked a few questions for you:

    If you’re an author or agent, which would you prefer:

    A) getting a decline letter within a week of submitting the project, with little or no personalization to the letter
    B) waiting 4-6 months (or longer) for a decline letter with more detailed, constructive comments

    Also, I’m curious–do you hold on to your decline letters? Burn them? Post them to your blog?

    Click here to read her explanations of the six letters and leave a note on whether you want to wait and get more feedback or just send a quick decline.

    You can follow Alvina on Twitter – She uses planetalvina.alvina_ling

    Thanks Alvina for shredding some light on this topic. 



    1. Awesome post! And, I keep my rejection letters. (Someday, I’m gonna hold one heck of a big bonfire party.) 😉


    2. No, you are going to save them and read them to people for encouragement after you become a big name author.



    3. I keep my letters. Just read some to the students in the writing class I taught last week.

      Also, when I’m planning a revision I pull out all those with comments/suggestions and see if there’s any common threads I can pick up on.

      They come in handy every now and again, although they sting like crazy when I first get them.



      • You are so thorough. First, I have to start submitting and then remember to not tear them up immediately.


    4. I keep my letters but I must admit, I don’t do much cold submission due to the wonders of SCBWI. I haven’t felt the need yet. But I think that need will be coming soon.


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