The Nicest Rejection Letter I Ever Had

I said way back in the first post on this blog, that I was doing it because I wanted to start writing again.

Specifically, what I mean by that is I want to start concentrate on my writing again. It’s not just about writing, it’s not just about story telling, it’s about trying to get Memories of a Murder published.

Having worked in the book trade for the last seven and a half years, you might ask why I haven’t tried before. The truth is, I have. I’ve just never done it to any great extent.

I have contacted a couple of agents that I’ve met, I’ve spoken to other authors and I’ve spoken to publishers. Ultimately, I’m in the wrong part of the industry to really influence my writing career – at least right now.

Don’t get me wrong – once I’m published, I can put my book in front of store displays in every WHSmith in the country, but before then, I need an agent, and then that agent needs to find a publisher who’ll take the book.

I have only spoken to a small handful of agents – literally, you could count them on one hand – and from all of them I’ve had polite rejections… except one.

Camilla Wray works at the Darley Anderson Agency – the agency which represents the likes of Lesley Pearse and Martina Cole – and a short couple of weeks after sending off some sample pages, Camilla rang me.

We discussed the book, we discussed plans for future stories, and she asked to see the rest of the book – I even rewrote sections of it based on that initial conversation while I was waiting for her verdict.

Camilla emailed me back with the best rejection letter I’ve ever had. Memories of a Murder was not the sort of book that the agency normally focuses on:

“I was thinking we could try and work on focusing the crime and bring it to the forefront at the beginning, but after reading your manuscript I don’t think this would be a beneficial thing to do and would be charging the essence of your story


I don’t think it is right to pigeon hole the manuscript in the genre and for me, Memories of a Murder is as a fantastic tale about families, deceit, greed and love. The murder is the crescendo of the story as opposed to the cause and pushing force, and it was important for me to recognize this.

Camilla’s response both encouraged and discouraged me at the same time. Here, I had someone finally telling me what I thought I had known all along – I’m a good writer – but she was still rejecting it.

However, as important as it is to get an agent, it’s important to get the right agent, and vice versa for the agent, it’s important to get the right book. Although I knew it, I didn’t really get it until quite recently. It doesn’t mean that the book is bad or that the agent is wrong, it’s just not a fit.

Camilla even went so far as to say if I ever wrote a more traditional crime novel and was without representation, then I should get in contact.

For the next couple of years, I started trying to write that more traditional crime novel, and a few false starts and some scribblings I wrote the first ten thousand words of The Killer Inside.

I don’t feel the same way about The Killer Inside as much as I do about Harry Hicks, though, and that’s partly why I stalled in my writing career. I was trying to fit into a box that wasn’t the right shape.

Maybe one day, I’ll finish The Killer Inside or something similar and I can get in contact with Camilla again – but for now, I’m refocusing on Harry and Memories of a Murder.