Reject a Hit: Marley & Me

Let’s step once again into the mind of the unconvinced, perhaps even curmudgeonly or fool-hearted editor: What harsh rejection letters might the authors of some of our favorite hit books have had to endure? This time we take on John Grogan of Marley & Me fame.
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HOW TO ENTER REJECT-A-HIT Ever wish you could be the one doing the rejecting? Take the WD challenge by humorously rejecting a hit in 400 words or fewer. Send your letter to wdsubmissions@ with “Reject a Hit” in the subject line. Yours could appear in a future issue! (Submitted pieces may be edited for space or clarity.)

Let’s step once again into the mind of the unconvinced, perhaps even curmudgeonly or fool-hearted editor: What harsh rejection letters might the authors of some of our favorite hit books have had to endure?

This issue’s contribution comes from LAURA MALISH of Chardon, Ohio, whose fictional editor saw John Grogan’s bestselling memoir Marley & Me: Life and Love With the World’s Worst Dog as all bark and no bite.

Feb. 7, 2004

Dear Mr. Grogan,

Thank you for sending me Marley & Me. I am sorry to say that this particular project is not right for publication in book format. Maybe you should submit it as a column to your local newspaper.

Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs. Who doesn’t? Unless you have severe allergies or an aversion to yellow spots in your front lawn, they are bundles of carpet-staining joy. However, there is one glaring problem: There are too many dog books. From our earliest writings, such as Beowulf (I’m pretty sure he was a dog, or at least a mix), writers have paid tribute to our furry companions. I don’t see how the market can possibly sustain one more book on dogs.

Also, I encourage you to think of the havoc you will cause in households across the world. Every child will now be begging their parents for a yellow lab puppy, as if they weren’t already impossible to resist. Countless homes will have screens ripped from their frames, chair legs chewed and toilet paper trailing throughout hallways. Is it your intent to suggest that homeowners willingly bring this destruction into their households?

Furthermore, it is much too predictable. As in all great dog books—Old Yeller, for example—the dog dies. After kicking aside the balled-up tissues on my floor, I realized that it was just another obvious abuse of readers’ emotions.

I suggest keeping this manuscript as a sentimental memoir for your children. I’m confident that they will enjoy looking back at your revealing history and thank you for the treasured keepsake. (I hope I’m not crushing your dreams of a large release or huge movie deal.)

After reading your query, I see that you’ve written for Organic Gardening. Perhaps they would be interested in an article on adding canine waste to improve soil conditions. I’m afraid that is my only other suggestion.

Kitty R. Bedder
Associate Editor

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