77 Reasons Why Your Book Was Rejected

What better way to learn about rejection than to hear it from someone who doles them out?

77 Reasons Why Your Book Was Rejected provides inside information on rejections as it was written by a guy who has issued thousands and thousands of them. He has also published more than 40 books and received more than 2000 rejections of his own. The author is Mike Nappa, Founder and Chief Literary Agent of Nappaland Communications. He also served as Chief Literary Agent for three publishers.

This was a fast, breezy read that is packed with informative tidbits on exactly why many books and book proposals get rejected. It seems that a lot of the advice is aimed at nonfiction proposals, though the book doesn’t specifically say so. Still, there is plenty of valuable information that applies to fiction and nonfiction alike.

Nappa reminds writers to never forget that books are published for profit (tattoo that behind your eyeballs, as William Goldman would say). Publishing is a business and the writer who forgets that is an unpublished one. He says the most important people to impress are the Publisher, the VP of Marketing, and the VP of Sales.  

Nappa’s book doesn’t merely provide tips on avoiding rejection, but provides details on the thinking of the editors, publishers, and what makes them issue a rejection. Not only that, for each scary tip on why your book may be rejected, he includes a What You Can Do About It section. After all, if you are aware of the reasons for rejection, you can avoid many of them.

Some of the reasons for rejection include:

  1. You Lied to Me
  2. You Insulted Me or My Company
  3. Your Book Tries to do too Much
  4. Your Word Count is Too Long or Too Short
  5. You Didn’t Do Your Homework
  6. You Are Lazy
  7. I Had a Fight With My Spouse and/or Children Just Before I Read Your Proposal
  8. I’ve Rejected this Book Before
  9. Your Project is Unoriginal
  10. You Have No Idea What it Means to Market a Book
  11. You Have No Legitimate Means for Marketing a Book
  12. You Have No Internet Presence
  13. There’s Too Much Competition For Your Book
  14. You Aren’t Able to Significantly Differentiate Your Book from the Competition
  15. You Have Unrealistic Expectations about Your Publishing Potential
  16. You Don’t Know Why People Buy Books
  17. You Want Too Much Money
  18. You Self-Published Yourself Into Oblivion
  19. Other Books Similar to Yours Did Not Sell According to Expectations
  20. Nothing Similar to Your Book Shows Up on Industry Bestseller Books

I highly recommend this book to find out the inside reasoning for the above rejections, as well as the other 57 reasons Mike Nappa warns your manuscript will get rejected.

You can find the book here.