Dear John Green:
Thank you so much for sending along your manuscript, The Fault in Our Stars, for my consideration. I’m afraid it is not quite right for our list at this time.
You demonstrate startling insight into the teenage psyche, making the loathsome beasts appear wholesome, even likeable. You make me love Hazel like my own daughter, and thus inflict grievous pain upon my psyche. Indeed, your story is so “metaphorically resonant” (to use your words), that three days after reading I am still metaphorically resonating and frankly not a little depressed. I predict unprecedented shortages of Kleenex should this manuscript go to publication.
Additionally, your distinct lack of derogatory comments about and objectification of women might shock our American readers. Perhaps this level of gender equality would play better to an international audience. Your thoughtful, careful treatment of young love is disconcertingly free of cliché. The absence of lurid sex scenes is at once refreshing and distressing. How could we possibly market a story about teenagers who strive for mature, loving sex?
And about your public persona. You appear to be a Decent Guy, with your humanitarian work on mosquito-borne illness, sarcoma research, and a host of other Noble Causes championed by your Foundation to Decrease World Suck. Would you consider getting a tattoo? Motorcycle? Shaving your head? Foot fetish?
I’m dead certain that this manuscript could turn into an international bestseller, another one to add to your growing list. Frankly, you’re a bit of an awards piggy. Michael L. Printz a couple times, Edgar Award, LA Times finalist, #1 Bestselling Author on Too Many Lists To Count, etc. ad nauseum. How do you think other authors are feeling? Plus, with the extreme crossover potential of The FIOS, we’re looking at the decimation of countless trees.
As you know, publishing is a subjective business. However, I can objectively state that you are a Genius. Your pacing, voice, plotting, thematic elements, and even the damn title are PERFECT. Do you know where this leaves me? Out of a job!
Hence, I shall pass. I wish you luck placing this manuscript with another house.
YA Imprint of Big Publishing House