We Only Accept Perfect Stories Here, Mark Twain

Our marketing department got ahold of Huckleberry Finn… We’ve been told we have to pass. I’m positive someone will pick up this book. This is groundbreaking work—perhaps your best ever. —Editor

Dear Mr. Clemens (Mr. Twain),

I regret to inform you that we cannot publish your book, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. In fact, we couldn’t get beyond the first page. While you might think it’s clever to use a specific dialect in your book. It comes across as amateur.

In truth, we only accept perfect books here, Mr. Twain.

Look at that first page.

YOU don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain't no matter. That book was made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly. There was things which he stretched, but mainly he told the truth. That is nothing. I never seen anybody but lied one time or another, without it was Aunt Polly, or the widow, or maybe Mary. Aunt Polly—Tom's Aunt Polly, she is—and Mary, and the Widow Douglas is all told about in that book, which is mostly a true book, with some stretchers, as I said before. Now the way that the book winds up is this: Tom and me found the money that the robbers hid in the cave, and it made us rich. We got six thousand dollars apiece—all gold. It was an awful sight of money when it was piled up. Well, Judge Thatcher he took it and put it out at interest, and it fetched us a dollar a day apiece all the year round—more than a body could tell what to do with. The Widow Douglas she took me for her son, and allowed she would sivilize me; but it was rough living in the house all the time, considering how dismal regular and decent the widow was in all her ways; and so when I couldn't stand it no longer I lit out. I got into my old rags and my sugar-hogshead again, and was free and satisfied.

From: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/76

This is truly terrible writing and hard to follow. We like to use proper sentences. Under no circumstances should a narrator ever say, “ain’t.”

We are sure it’s a decent story, but who cares about story when you have to dumb down your IQ to read the book. These are not the kind of people we associate with for a reason. I’m sure I would feel dumber for having read the whole book.

Who do you think you are? You mention yourself in the second sentence. Don’t ever do that. You’re creating a world of fiction, so trying to sell this book as some version of the truth is preposterous.

How are we supposed to sell this book? Who is your target audience? You want us to put a book like this in the children’s section? This book is full of crude language, immature content and the n-word. We can only sell books by genre, and no adult wants to read a book with a child protagonist.

Included below is an edited version of your first page. Please rewrite it with the changes we suggested and try submitting it again.

My name is Huckleberry Finn. You may remember me from “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.” The story held true to the events as they took place. Everyone in my life lies sometimes though, even Tom Sawyer’s relatives. I do believe most of the Bible when the Widow Douglas reads to me.
I will recap “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” for you. Tom Sawyer and I found money hidden in a cave. We split up the money and each had $600 in gold. We allowed Judge Thatcher to invest the money for us. Each day I receive a dollar from the interest, which is more money than I know what to do with.
The Widow Douglas adopted me. She attempted to educate me. It was hard to adjust to her lifestyle because she was too kind. One day, I found my old clothes and ran away.

See… This is much more marketable.

The Marketing Department of the Publisher