Rejected by the Publishers - New York Times: "Submitted to 20 publishers and agents, the typed manuscripts of the opening chapters of two books were assumed to be the work of aspiring novelists. Of 21 replies, all but one were rejections. Sent by The Sunday Times of London, the manuscripts were the opening chapters of novels that won Booker Prizes in the 1970's. One was 'Holiday,' by Stanley Middleton; the other was 'In a Free State,' by Sir V. S. Naipaul, winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Literature. Mr. Middleton said he wasn't surprised. 'People don't seem to know what a good novel is nowadays,' he said. Mr. Naipaul said: 'To see something is well written and appetizingly written takes a lot of talent, and there is not a great deal of that around. With all the other forms of entertainment today, there are very few people around who would understand what a good paragraph is.' "
Makes you wonder what it is they're looking for.