The Dreaded Rejection Slip

The very day that I had almost given up on hearing from Llewellyn about my book proposal and I was getting ready to phone them and inquire about it, I received the dreaded rejection slip in an email. It was polite and short. Two dreaded indicators. And sent by someone who briefly said, “Thank you for your submission to Llewellyn Worldwide.”

I opened the attached letter and there was the decision: No.

They had written it very politely to “Dear Author”—that’s encouraging.

Dear Author,

Thank you for the opportunity to review your submission. Although we considered your submission, the Acquisitions Committee has decided that it does not suit our needs at this time.

This decision is not necessarily a reflection of the submission’s quality. Llewellyn seriously considers all of the proposals we receive and we understand and respect your hard work and arduous creative effort. We appreciate you thinking of us as a potential publishing partner for your work.

We wish you the very best in finding a publishing home for your project.


But it was still a no. Oh, bother!

It took me back to when I was writing Cattle Ranch in the 1970s. First, I approached McClelland & Stewart, because after all, the subject of my history book—Douglas Lake Ranch—was Canada’s largest ranch. I thought they’d be interested.

There began a longish trickle of rejection slips, all of them coming by Canada Post. Some of them were on small pieces of paper – you could cut a piece of 8.5” by 11” paper into six rectangles and that would be about the size of those rejection slips. There would be an imprint publication name, a few typed words saying no thanks, and a flourish of a signature.

No is always a hard word to hear, especially when it’s rejecting a proposal, whether that’s a proposal for a dance, a date, a marriage, or a book. That’s why, when I finished writing Trust the Mystery, I decided to go with a hybrid publisher, Influence Publishing. A hybrid is one that attends to the book cover, the editing and proofreading; procures the ISBN and the CIP; handles the typesetting, printing, and distribution; and makes suggestions for promoting the final product.

I learned in that process that I have to be a better promoter than I am.

So here I am with book number three, “Embodying Seven Spiritual Energies,” wanting to find a traditional publisher, because I’m hoping that they will direct me more strongly in the promotion end of things. Along with doing all the other tasks like procuring the ISBN and the CIP.

After I received Llewellyn’s decision, I nursed feeling rejected for a couple of hours, spun my wheels, ignored its finality for a couple of days, and eventually after four days I decided to move on to book publisher number two on my list, DeVorss & Company, publisher of metaphysical, inspirational, spiritual, self-help, and new age books.

Unlike Llewellyn, which says on its website that they accept book proposals and book manuscripts, DeVorss doesn’t say anything of the kind. So my first email to them asks whether they even accept book proposals directly from authors, because of course some publishers only accept book proposals from agents.

And I haven’t heard back yet. Okay, it’s been ten days now, so I think I’d better call them tomorrow. I’ll search their website for a phone number. I’ll keep you posted.

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