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Fake Editors’ Names on Rejection Letters

Galleycat apparently has confirmed that some aspiring authors are getting rejection letters signed by fake editors, a hoax at Del Rey that included listing the fake editor’s name as an acquiring editor. You’ll have to go to Galley Cat to read the story about Urban Del Rey.

Mostly, these rejection letters are purportedly sent to unagented submissions.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Kitten
    Mar 27, 2008 @ 17:44:24

    Urgh, I know I shouldn’t, but I actually sympathize with the fake names. I used to be head of customer support for a company which required me to give out my real name, and I’d be waken at 3.00 am from sleep on my home phone from customers who’d look up my name on directories or yellow pages or Google, and call me when it was convenient to them. Then, they’d be angry if I didn’t help them right then and there. I ended up having to change my phone number and my name listing on phone directories due to the problem especially after some of the customers posted my real phone number online.

    I can only imagine if this happened to those editors as well. After it happens four or five times, it’s hard to be patient, especially when you hang up on the individual and they call back directly. I once spent an hour doing this (at midnight) before necessarily removing my phone from the hook for the rest of the night.

  2. Kcfla
    Mar 28, 2008 @ 08:50:23

    I have to agree with Kitten on this one.

    I was a manager for *largedrugstorechain* for 10 years. At that time, both our first and last names were on our name tags, as well as posted in the store ( They’ve stopped doing this now btw).

    I can’t begin to tell you how many times I got phone calls from customers while AT HOME, who were upset/pissed/disagreed with the “on duty” manager’s handling of a problem. They’d want me to come down to the store to “fix it” for them?! Just looked me up in the local phone book.( this was before caller ID)

    So yes, I can see where this is a sort-of CYA situation. I don’t know whether it’s right, but I can see the reasoning behind it.

  3. Ann Bruce
    Mar 28, 2008 @ 11:10:34

    And some say e-publishers are unprofessional.

  4. Shannon Stacey
    Mar 28, 2008 @ 11:38:38

    I wonder if this is also a way to “mark” certain authors they don’t want to see repeat submissions from. When the next submission comes in, addressed to the fake editor, it goes in the circular file?

    I find it a little offensive, actually.

  5. Ree
    Mar 28, 2008 @ 23:46:51

    I used to intern in the editorial department of a major publishing house, and I was told to send generic thanks for submitting, but no thanks letters to unsolicited manuscripts. I was specifically told to make my signature unintelligible. The policy of the house was to only accept manuscripts through agents and this was stated in the letter. Its a legitimate way for a house to respond to the hundreds of unsolicited submissions they get weekly. If you’re sending your manuscript directly to the editorial department, odds are it won’t even get opened, or when its revealed to be a manuscript, it’ll get sent straight to the intern. Don’t waste your postage – send it to an agent. There is little to no hope in getting an unsolicited manuscript taken seriously.
    Don’t take offense either – this is just how they do business.

  6. Ann Bruce
    Mar 29, 2008 @ 12:55:18

    Why couldn’t they send a generic letter signed “The Editorial Team” or something? Giving a fake name makes me question their business ethics.

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