Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dear Allen

Dear Allen (or would you prefer Mr. Unwin?)

Thank you for getting back to me so quickly. It was the loveliest, most personalized, rejection I’ve ever received. However, I’m a bit baffled because, based on what I read on your online profile, you and me should have made a great match.

Knowing you, I’m pretty sure you didn’t reject me based on appearance alone. I understand some of my personal photos may have been circulated after appearing on Facebook; still, you can’t deny that I look pretty good in a black leotard. At least I did when I was nine. Or maybe you just had the wrong impression of me, and I can see how – browsing through my blog pictures – you might have thought I was a toothpaste model.

Of course, you say it’s nothing personal but solely a matter of my writing, that for you it lacked oomph. But that’s a matter of opinion, because some would say my choice of words is off this planet.

It’s a shame you weren’t able to see a future for us, that you weren’t sure what box to put me in. But it was really too kind of you to write, “It’s not you, it’s me.” However, you should probably know that I’ve been told that exact quote before, so you’d do best to cite the original author in a footnote.

But really, there’s no need for compassion here. Actually, I’ve moved on. I’ve found someone else. I think. It’s tough finding the right person at my age: most everyone is already taken, or too young to know what a typewriter is.

Thanks for your consideration all the same and all the best to you,


P.S. If things don’t work out with this other person, would it be totally out of the question for me to give you a call?


  1. aah Heddi you crack me up. I wouldn't take back mr Big Publisher even if he did beg me. You must be getting a dab hand at this now, although it would take some beating to get past Samuel Beckett and his 62 rejection letters for Waiting for Godot.

  2. I'm so pleased I made you laugh, Mary Anna! I failed to mention (because it wasn't so funny) that the real email I just received from Allen and Unwin, Auckland branch, was also full of compliments for my writing, so this rejection left me feeling pretty OK after all. Sixty-two rejection letters, you say? I haven't counted but I'm pretty sure I'm not there yet. I wonder what my magic number will be.
    :) h.

  3. Oh, you see Heddi, with my first novel I must have totalled a good thirty or more rejection letters both in German and French (multiliguality doesn't make rejection letters that much nicer, I have to confess). I as good as have forgotten about that novel ever since; maybe it's just not good enough to be published? I'm sure I'll read it again, one day, some tewnty years hence, and laugh about it.
    Or not.
    Who knows such things?
    Anyway, I sometimes suspect that's why I don't move on with the current novel – knowing that, once it's finished, I've planned to propose it to some publishers out there in this cruel cruel world ;-) I always seem to have too many new ideas for poems or short-stories I just HAVE to write first (and that's what I do). Anyway, I'm just so sure we'll be published and famous one day. Believe me.
    So, in my eyes, you did the right thing telling Mr. It's-not-you-it's-me off (hey, doesn't he just sound like the most ridiculous let's-end-this-relationship-stinker? To me he does...)

    So, best to you, be brave, be beautiful, be smart, in one word: be you!

  4. Dear Dieter, you're so right: writing is one thing and proposing a manuscript to a publisher is another. And it is a cruel cruel (publishing) world. I applaud you then for moving on with the next novel, because for me I simply can't stop obsessing over this one until I do everything possible to get it published, and perhaps this is not such a good thing! You hear many stories of writers who published the 'first' novel only after the second got out there. And I bet you your first novel is not laughable at all! You're probably just a perfectionist...so get the second one out there, finish it, don't be afraid...
    Thanks once again for your encouragement: your optimism is positively contagious!
    :) h.