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What Bestseller Would You Have Rejected? Here’s Your Chance!

Friday February 5, 2010

Reject a hit!

Mr. Diaz,

Thank you for submitting your manuscript, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.  While we certainly appreciate the opportunity to read yet another social misfit struggle story, your work suffers from a number of significant flaws.  The core of your work is compelling and we would be interested in representing the book if you would be willing to make considerable changes to the shape of the story.

The source of all of your trouble rests with the assumption that the American public actually wants to invest energy into the reading of a book.  This Mr.Diaz, is simply not the case.  Happily, there are a number of edits that would streamline your story and make it more readable.

1.People do not like words they cannot pronounce.  The “ethnic” flavor of your story is quite welcome, but you have taken it a little too far.  The use of Oscar’s native family tongue is too heavy-handed.  Sprinkle rather than pour.

2. People do not like names they cannot pronounce.   Oscar is fine, but most of the other characters need to change.

3. No one reads footnotes.  If the  public wanted to read an encyclopedia they would not select a work of fiction to meet that need.  Remove the footnotes and consider further that much of what you have chosen to footnote isn’t terribly interesting in the first place.  Again, you are not marketing your work as a history text.

Attending to these three issues could shift your manuscript in a positive direction.  If you are willing to make these edits, we would be interested in representing your work.

Best,

Successful Publishing House

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