I didn’t win the lottery last night. What a waste of a pound.

I sent off a hand full of introduction emails yesterday, and surprisingly I got responses from nearly all of them straight away. Most were very polite but said they didn’t have any positions open, but ‘to keep in touch.’

Even more promising was the response from two separate individuals (one with a publisher and one with an agent), who said that there may be a job opening in the future, to get back in touch closer to then end of my placement.

This is the best news ever, and I’ve made a note in my diary to contact them gain in about six weeks. In about a month I’ll start contacting publishers I haven’t met, and see if they have any jobs going. So, it’s all fairly positive…except, one response I received from a publisher I met at the London Christmas party. See his curt and short response:

I was quite surprised to find your email. As I do not remember giving you my direct email address, I can only imagine that you used your position with [MNM] to acquire my private contact details. Not only is this unprofessional, it is in poor taste to then use this information to ask for a job. We here at [name of publisher] go through a rigorous process when choosing our interns, and we do the best we can to place our own interns with a paying position at [name of publisher] after their placement. This tends to be the trend amongst most publishers, and I can only wonder why [MNM] has not found a place for you within their organisation. Perhaps you should look in-house before contacting others.

Note: I obviously took out all the personal information. AND, I didn’t send an email to his private address; I sent it to his email address at the publishers. But instead of emailing the info@ address, I emailed him directly. What a cock.

I received this response as I was sorting through the slush pile, and it got me thinking about rejection letters. For the most part, MNM sends a stock rejection letter, but there has been quite the debate about personal vs form rejections, and form letters that appear to be personalised.

Seeing the rejection letter I received today, I would have much preferred a stock response from that publisher.

This is an interesting blog post about this exact debate: Shane Gavin — Form Rejections. 

For the slush pile, I prefer to send out form letters that are obvious form letters. This is a bit more honest than a rejection that seems personalised. These faux personalised letters could give false hope, or insinuate that the novel doesn’t need work. Whereas, the obvious form letter lets the submitting author know that there was nothing in their piece that stood out from the rest, and the novel needs work. Then, when they do get a truly personalised rejection letter, it means so much more.


2 responses to “Rejections

  1. Hello!
    I was surfing the net and found your amazing blog.
    [I was actually looking for an internship in a publishing house in Glasgow (well i’m actually still looking for it!).]
    I guess you’ve been luckier than me, so maybe you can give me some advice. I’m also very curious (and jelaous!) about your experience!
    I am an italian student of publishing, I studied in glasgow for 5 months 2 years ago and fall in love with the city and now I’m desperately looking for an internship! I’d love to hear you experience so please contact me!

  2. Hi. Wonderful to meet you, and I’m glad you’ve found my blog. I’ve responded as a blog post as I thought it would be more helpful.
    Good luck!

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