Elegant rejection


Image: http://public-domain.zorger.com

We have read your manuscript with boundless delight.

If we were to publish your paper, it would be impossible for us to publish any work of lower standard. And as it is unthinkable that in the next thousand years we shall see its equal, we are, to our regret, etc.

-rejection slip from a Chinese economics journal.

George Plimpton, The Writers’ Chapbook (Viking 1989) p. 134



7 thoughts on “Elegant rejection

    1. So that you can rub it in their face when you become famous! Have you read that one for ‘The Left Hand of Darkness’ that basically says it’s rather confusing and boring?

  1. No, no. I only read my own. Maybe one day I’ll publish them as a collection. I do feel for all the poor ‘ex’ editors who rejected HP and the Philosopher’s Stone. A career killing move for a number of them no doubt.

  2. I read a nice one about Proust too, to the effect, “what on earth is all this stuff about?”
    (Of course there are some lesser beings who would still say that).

  3. Another well known rejection story – about ‘The Hobbit’ – I guess you know it? Tolkien’s reluctant publishers were so convinced his book wouldn’t sell that they offered a generous royalty on the first few hundred. (I think it was the first few hundred; I’d have to look it up.)

    They had to eat their words of course, thereby giving rise to a saying known as ‘The Hobbit Contract’.

  4. I haven’t heard this one. “reluctant publisher” I would think these days means “not going to publish”. It’s interesting to ponder what it is in the zeitgeist that makes people ready for something that seems so unlikely to publishers at the time and that later looks so obvious. What’s next, I wonder? Gert has pondered the possibility of a teen romance with an Archangel as the love interest – or has that been done?

    1. Can’t wait to read it! Even if it has been done (don’t think so), Gert would be doing it with such verve that it couldn’t fail. These days, though, it might have to be an archangel that has crossed over to the dark side (or is a double agent?) and the teen love interest brings him back. Or the archangel is female, and the love interest male? Possibilities . . .

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