Michael Bracken writes in 101 Habits of Highly Successful Novelists: Insider Secrets from Top Writers:

"A writing career is nothing more than a long series of disappointments punctuated by occasional moments of success,” “Maintaining a long writing career involves a little bit of talent, a little bit of luck, and a great deal of determination.”

Every writer knows the road to publication is paved with rejection. There is a learning process that takes place before a writer is savvy enough to attract the attention of an agent or publisher. A new writer soon learns that getting published is as much about what a manuscript is as what a manuscript is not. 

That said, I began wondering what the top reasons are that agents or publishers reject a manuscript. For me, it was a learning process in reverse, because it seemed obvious it was best to avoid problems before they occur.

Listed below are some of the top reasons manuscripts are rejected:

1.   The opening fails to hook the reader.
2.   The point of view isn't consistent.
3.   The plot lacks conflict and suspense.
4.   Characters are one dimentional and flat.
5.   Too many info dumps.
6.   Info is inaccurate and lack of research is apparent.
7.   Too much telling and not enough showing. 
8.   Unrealistic development between characters.
9.   Sex scenes are not a good fit for the book.
10. The manuscript is riddled with grammar and spelling mistakes.
11. The manuscript was sent to the wrong publishers.
12. The voice doesn't sing.
13. The manuscript is bloated with modifiers and adverbs.
14. Wandering plot or too many subplots.
15. The manuscript is too long (usually over 120,000 words) or too short (under 50,000.)
16. The story fits in no recognizable genre.
17. The conflict is weak or boring.
18. The dialogue is unrealistic.
19. Characters' motives are unbelievable.
20. Ending does not deliver or satisfy. 
 


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