The Ultimate Rejection Letters

rejection letters
Bill Shapiro recently released "Other People's Rejection Letters."
CBS
Imagine how it would feel to get a letter like this: "The work you sent us is quite terrible. Please forgive the form rejection but it would take too much of my time to tell you exactly how terrible it was."

"That's horrid! At least have the guts to look someone in the face and reject them," was one woman's reaction to the letter.

And who would want their humiliation publically shared in a book?

It can come by e-mail or tweet, snail mail or text - everyone has gotten rejected, reports CBS News correspondent Richard Schlesinger.

Bill Shapiro has just released a book full of rejection letters, page after page of "thanks, but no thanks."

Photographer Tony Stamolis got one of the meanest letters in the book, and was eager to share it.

"I don't know who you are or what you do," Stamolis read. "Remove me from your e-mail list."

Shapiro said brush-offs are turn-ons in prime time. Carrie Bradshaw got rejected with a Post-it note.

"I'm sorry, I can't. Don't hate me," the Post-it note read from "Sex and the City."

TV shows like "The Apprentice" are built on rejection.

Apparently people are now more willing to share.

"I think there's something happening now where there's no expectation of privacy, you sneeze into the wind and 10 minutes later it's on YouTube," Shapiro said.

Shapiro learned a lot while writing his book - about rejection and about himself.

"I saw that I didn't have rejection letters of my own that matched these. And it came to me at some point that I hadn't taken enough chances with my own life," he said.

There are letters that seem laughable now. In 1956 The Museum of Modern Art wrote Andy Warhol saying a committee "decided they ought not accept" his donation of a drawing. But there are more private letters here, letters jilting lovers.

"Stop calling me, and e-mailing me. Let this go and let me get on with my life," wrote Naomi Wax.

Wax wrote several of the letters.

"I think it helps people to have a window into other people's relationships and see the kinds of things you can say," she said.

Wax and Shapiro know each other pretty well - they are dating.

"She's gotten a lot of practice writing rejection letters. Are you worried about what she'd say to you?" asked Schlesinger.

"I think she'd just say look at page 88," Shapiro said.

  • Richard Schlesinger
    Richard Schlesinger

    Correspondent, "48 Hours," "CBS Evening News"