Random Rejection: Maria Carvainis Agency

Well after the last couple of weeks of me being chatty about my checkered past in the horror field, this week we are back on more familiar ground, with a lovely random rejection letter from the Maria Carvainis Agency:


Yes, that’s right, this is a rejection letter from 1994.  I told you I kept them all!  I can’t identify from this letter what the project was, but from the date it was probably either Night Watchman or Long Before Dawn.  Side note:  Saying that a letter is “seemingly” impersonal doesn’t make it not impersonal.  All it does is show that you know it’s impersonal and that you feel slightly guilty about it, at least, enough to add an adverb.  But as the style guides always say, adverbs violate the “show don’t tell rule”.  (Another side note:  Let’s not start a flame war about the use of adverbs; I use them all the time.  I’m just being snarky.)

The astute reader may have noticed that sometimes I blur out contact information on these letters and sometimes I don’t.  If the contact information appears to be for a person’s home (often the case with letters from the small press) then I’ll blur it.  If, as in this example, the letter is from a professional literary agency and the contact information is for their office, I’ll leave it in.

12 thoughts on “Random Rejection: Maria Carvainis Agency

  1. any particular reason WHY you kept them all???

    Jim says: Hmm … well, I could claim that I knew that some day I would be posting them online, but I think the more accurate answer is that I’m a pack rat.


  2. I kept all my story rejection letters until I had so many they just weren’t special anymore. I did get a New Yorker rejection online, and people say you should keep New Yorker rejections, but I found that out after I deleted it.

    Agency rejections are just to painful to keep.

    But you do make me wish I had a scanner.

    Jim says: I pulled out a New Yorker rejection and posted it last July, but it’s from before they went online.


  3. Ha! That *is* funny. And given my recent descent into rejection letter hell(this morning to be exact) it put a smile to my face. But at least someone was kind enough to sign the seemingly impersonal rejection. I got a rejection email the other day that wasn’t from a person. The email address was generic and it was signed: “Search Committee”. I don’t know who that is.


  4. You inspired me to finally open one last rejection letter, myself, from The Institution that Shall Not Be Named” which arrived a year or so ago. Somehow it fell behind something or other and I hadn’t ever opened it.

    But, wow, wouldn’t it have been tragic if it turns out to have been something OTHER than a rejection letter? Like a check for a million dollars to compensate me for all the angst they’ve caused me? Which would soon expire if I didn’t open it?

    Ha. No such luck! 🙂


  5. Mine is identical to yours… or nearly so… everything is the same, every word…. except for the date… mine has 2005

    Jim says: I guess if it works for you, why change it, right? 🙂


  6. Trying to find Maria Carvainis, your rejection letter surfaced. Before I retired, I had the pleasure of working with authors. While I understand the pain of a rejection, if Ms. Carvainis’ letter came to you within a couple of months of your submission, I believe that telling you no is considerably better than not knowing the status of your submission.


  7. I met Maria Carvainis years ago and she’s a good agent, and at the time, almost always wrote a personalized message, so this surprises me a bit. However, more and more agents are resorting to form letters when it comes to rejection. I stumbled on this sight after I decided to query her with another project… at least I’ll know what to expect. She doesn’t accept queries via email, and still likes the old methods of snail mail. In some ways that refreshing and at least that, seems like an old personal touch.


  8. I was Maria’s client for about seven months. She told me she thought my antagonist was “delicious,” and then held on to my ms. for months and months and months. Then, seven months later, I received a note out of the blue from her saying that my book was “disgusting.” Really, really odd woman. And highly unprofessional. A total waste of time. I would stay away if I were you.


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