10 Reasons Why Your Novel Might Be Rejected

By Christine Colorado, March 2019


There are many reasons why a book doesn’t sell. Sometimes the book is okay, but the timing is wrong Or the timing is right and the book isn’t.

1. You may be submitting your novel to an Editor that doesn’t work in your specific genre. Know what you are submitting and make sure it gets into the hands of someone who works within your genre.

2. Poor grammar, spelling and uninteresting writing. If your query letter or cover letter are full of mistakes, and are poorly written an editor won’t look any further than that.

3. You do not have a defined target audience in your proposal. This creates more work for the editor, having to discover what your target audience is. They might not think it is worth the effort or they discover there isn’t enough audience interest in your subject.

4. The world you have created is boring. Do more research, work on ‘showing’ it better. Add more descriptive phrases, show the world through the eyes of your protagonist.

5. You have a very weak storyline. If that is the case you need to discover what your story is really about. Talk to other writers for insight, put it away for a while and come back with fresh eyes.

6. Your Characters are boring and uninteresting. Find ways to give more substance to your characters. Give them back-story, values, ambitions. Do NOT make them stereotypical. Try to put your reader inside the heart and mind of your POV character. Review your scenes for weak spots that can be improved.

7. The author does not have a strong voice. This is what makes your story unique and interesting. Your voice will get stronger with practice, keep reading and writing.

8. Your plot is predictable. Make sure you do the required research necessary to know your story and its shortcomings. Do not rely on TV for plot ideas and subject knowledge. Check it for yourself. If your characters are weak, strengthen them with moral dilemmas, have them make the tough decisions. Reduce your character’s options. Make it tough on them.

9. Your story is more like a sermon. Make your characters more conflicting, with less obvious ties to your story line. Rewrite some of the scenes to include your new changes and some surprises.

10. Your Book Fails to Deliver. Readers want to be pulled along with your main characters and feel what they are experiencing. If the stakes are not high enough your reader won’t care. Raise the stakes and bring the reader along. Make your main character real, give them values, goals and future dreams. Make sure you ‘show’ the emotion and its effect, do not tell. Help the reader feel what is happening.