For several years, I and my agents tried to get Carry-on published by a major publisher. Here are excerpts of rejections notices we received.
“Carry-on shows signs of writing talent, but I don’t think it has commercial potential. Advise Mr. Belden not to write in the second person (despite Jay McInerney’s example). We would be interested in any future novels by this author, especially if they are not so unrelentingly dark.”
“I apologize for taking so long to get back to about CARRY-ON [sic]. I think it’s quite a ride, but in the end do think it might fit more with an independent (i.e. more risk-taking) publisher than a corporate giant like [publisher name]. I would call you myself, but this is actually my last day on the job.”
“With regrets, I’m returning Chris Belden’s novel, CARRY-ON. I agree that it’s a suspenseful tale, but unfortunately the voice doesn’t appeal to me.”
“Thank you for the oportunity to consider CARRY-ON…. Mr. Belden is clearly a very talented writer–his prose in natural, and perhaps intentionally, recalls the style of some of the literary greats of this past half-century…. Despite its superb craftsmanship, the book feels too short on plot and too narrow in scope to find a wide readership.”