There is no greater fear to a writer, than having their manuscript rejected. It is quite discouraging, after spending an agonising amount of time writing, to have an editor turn it down. Some editors are justified in doing so, probably due to mistakes made by the writer. The writer may have formatted the manuscript terribly, have multiple spelling and grammatical mistakes or improper punctuation. The writer may also not be aware of proper characterisation, lack narrative skills or lack the ability to write good dialogue.
However, in other cases, the blame is not on the writer. Here are some comical reasons that lead to manuscripts getting rejected:
Too many manuscripts
Your manuscript may be well written, but you may be unfortunate enough to forward it to a publishing house that has too many manuscripts awaiting publishing. In this case, they turn down your manuscript by claiming that they are currently not dealing in your particular genre.
Profit and loss evaluations
Before an editor considers publishing your manuscript, they have to first make profit and loss projections. The editor has to factor in all the publishing costs that include: the cost of printing, distribution, royalties, advertisements, promotion as well as publicity and so on. All these costs are usually deducted from the projected income. If they determine that they will make little or no profit after the deductions, they opt to reject your manuscript.
At other times, the Sales Department of the publishing house may have given strict orders not to have a certain genres’ manuscripts accepted. For example, if the books in the Romance genre are not selling as much, they are forced to pull the plug on that genre. Therefore, if your manuscript is unfortunate enough to fall into that category, it will be rejected.
Some publishing houses excel in a certain genre as compared to others. If your manuscript falls in the genre that is their specialty, chances of success are high. However, on the contrary, they will not give your manuscript as much effort in publishing or promotion, as desired. To avoid all this, the editor simply says nay to your manuscript.
Lack of funds
Sometimes, the companies may be going through tough times financially. Since it isn’t in any companies interests to reveal this to the public, the employees are directed to put on hold any manuscripts that come through and make no buys.
They are wrong
In other cases, the editors are just plain wrong in rejecting the manuscript. In such cases, they do not think that the manuscript will do well as a novel and result to rejecting it. Many editors have done this only to regret later when another publishing house picks it up and makes millions.
Even as you work on your manuscript, it is good to be informed on some of the reasons that lead to rejection, in a bid to avoid them.