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.
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