How Shall I Reject Thee? Let Me Count The Ways

My apologies for taking so long to get back to you, Mr. Shakespeare

A crumpled piece of yellow paper on a desk.
Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

Oh, rejection, rejection, wherefore art thou rejection? Deny my genius and refuse my praise?

Or if thou wilt, take all myself and I’ll no longer be a writer.

At the end of the day, all writers must ask themselves: to query or not to query?

You know what they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Dear Mr. Shakespeare,

Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to consider Romeo and Juliet, I appreciate it, and apologies for taking so long to get back to you!

I had trouble staying connected with the main characters of Romeo and Juliet.

While at the beginning I was pulled into the story, which you did a nice job setting up, I had trouble staying connected with the main characters of Romeo and Juliet. I also got a bit lost during the infighting between the Montagues and Capulets. I was hoping for more of a focus on the love story, rather than the family drama.


Romance Lover

Dear Will,

Thanks again for following up and giving me the chance to read your work. The dialogue is working really well in your writing, but even so, I only got through the first two acts before skipping to the end.

In your work, too much happens, too quickly. Also, Tybalt, Mercutio, and the main characters ALL die? It was too much for me, so I’m going to pass.

—Not a Fan

Hi Billy,

First, thank you for being patient with me while I took eighteen months to read your submission. Sorry for leaving you hanging!

I love the premise of this story and its unconventional take on marriage. There is also a lot to admire about your facility with language, especially the rhyme scheme, it’s impressive 😊

Romeo is such a fun character, but he’s a little too conflicted for my taste, I mean he’s a lover and a murderer? I know he had his reasons, but still. However, I’m sure the right agent will connect with him on some level, keep the faith!

Kind regards,

In Your Corner

Hi Will,

I’m sorry to be sending this on Christmas. I loved your use of iambic pentameter in the Prologue, and I’m one of those people who usually hate prologues!

My parents also disapproved of my choice of husband, so I completely related to Juliet’s point of view. I was also intrigued by your use of religion as a character and how it ultimately plays a role in the plot.

It’s always hard to make monologues as intriguing as action scenes, and while I think you have achieved it to some extent, the amount of time your characters spend addressing the audience was off-putting, and I’m going to step aside. I know you’ll find the right agent soon, and I’ll probably kick myself later.

Wishing you a joyful holiday,

Close But No Cigar

Dear Bill S.,

Thanks for contacting me. Although I couldn’t put Romeo and Juliet down, I’m not going to be signing you as a client.

You have created some very memorable characters here with the Nurse, and the apothecary-obsessed Friar, I almost wished the story was more about them!

I wonder if you might consider ending on a happier note?

Although there is lovely writing here, a lot of bad things happen, and the ending was really tragic. I wonder if you might consider ending on a happier note?

This is just the feedback from one agent so take it with a grain of salt. Good luck!

All the best,

Prefers Comedies

Dear William Shakespeare,

Thank you for contacting First Folio printing. If we are interested in seeing more of your work we will get back to you. Please don’t respond to this email as it will not be responded to.


The Editors

Good luck to all #amquerying writers in the trenches out there, hope you get a “Yes” in your lifetime.

[1] In Shakespearean “wherefore” means why, not where. I know, it’s dumb and confusing. English! 

More Like This

Your Zoom Camera Is Not a Mirror

"Authors Fidget Online," an illustrated consideration of book-talks by Michael Dahlie

Dec 19 - Michael Dahlie

Desperate Writer Query Template*

Can I bribe you with coffee and the promise of a prize-winning book?

Nov 11 - RL Maizes

How to Write Your Debut Book’s Acknowledgments Section

Start with “Aren’t we all essentially alone?”

Dec 28 - RL Maizes
Thank You!