Romance By Catherine: Rejections... Responses...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Rejections... Responses...

Every writer out there has a certain feeling that passes over them when they see a note in their inbox from a publisher or an agent. If I'm sending out a new project to find a publishing home, or searching for the perfect agent, I check my inbox daily hoping to see something from someone.

So lets talk rejections and responses for a few minutes. I recently found a post on the BookEnds blog talking about a standard rejection letter that Jessica Faust wanted feedback on. I can't imagine what it would be like to open my inbox and find 100 queries a day. How on earth does an agent weed through the pile and ever find anything?
But alas, they do. So the question she had was about standard rejections and how they make an author feel.

I've been in the business for a while now, and I've had my run of rejections. Every author who puts themselves out there is going to get them! So I thought I'd post some of those rejections I've received over the last couple of years and dissect them.

"Thank you very much for your query, which I have read with interest. Unfortunately the project does not seem right for me, and I am sorry I cannot offer to read your work.

I do wish you all the best on finding more suitable representation, and thank you again."

Obviously this is a standard rejection. How does it make me feel?
* I'm sure glad the agent took the time to send it! So many don't bother, which to me is a little rude. Did this agent 'read with interest?' - Probably not. They probably read something in the first paragraph that made them pass. Am I upset about that? No. I want an agent that is excited about my work and wants to help make things happen.

"Thank you for thinking of me with this project; I appreciate the chance to have a look. I'm sorry to say I won’t be pursuing representation at this time, but I hope you have every success in finding the perfect agent and publisher for your work."

Okay, again, a standard rejection. I liked this one for two reasons.
One, the agent realizes that I've chosen him or her. And I do. I don't send out masses of agent letters. I look at the agent, the agency, what books they are selling and the clients they work with. I try and find a fit before sending the letter.
Two, nothing about the book that makes me think she wants to see it again. WHAT? You're asking! Let me 'spalin... When an agent uses words like intrigued, or interested, or fascinating and then doesn't go on to say anything else, I wonder what part did they like, and what part didn't they like. I ask myself if I can fix something and send it back or what? This rejections politely passes on the project so I can move on.

"Thank you so much for writing me about your project. I read and consider each query carefully and while yours is not exactly what I am looking for, I would certainly encourage you to keep trying. I know your work is important to you and I am grateful that you wrote to me."

Love this one. Why? Lets face it... it's not me, it's her. LOL * but think about it for a minute. This does say it all... It says 'no thanks' 'not for me' 'keep trying' 'thanks'

And themes go on and on... Nearly every agent has said keep looking. Finding the perfect agent or publisher is about finding the right fit.

Some of you are saying... But, Cathy, don't you get discouraged? Don't you want feedback?

Duah, of course I would love feedback, but did you see the '100 queryies a day bit I posted above. If an agent or publisher is going to give feedback, they'll ask for revisions. If they spend all day tailoring each rejection, they won't have time to work on sales for their clients. And baby, that's their job. When I find the right agent, I'll want them to do it even more.
Another thing... are they sorry? Damn right they are. They want the next best writer in their house nearly as much as you want to be that writer.

So, Dear Agent... Thanks for taking the time to send the 'auto response' that you even received my query... and again for sending me 'form rejection'.

For those agents who don't bother... My guess is you find a lot of "Did you get it?" mail from lots of authors. A little communication will probably clear out your inbox. Hint... hint...

Of course... this is the next best response:

"I read your sample chapters with interest, and I would like to invite you to send along the first 100 pages for review."


** Most recent from Harlequin:

Hi Catherine,

I did receive it, and I would be interested in looking over the full manuscript...


Theresa Stillwagon said...

Yeah, I know that feeling when you see the email. Deep, deep down in the pit of your stomach.
I just felt it a few minutes ago. Another rejection.
It's amazing to me. I write for three different publisher. I can't seem to sell another book to my first one, but my second one gave me a contract on a synopsis and first three chapters.
Oh, well.
Nice blog, Catherine.

Catherine Bybee said...

Subjective... All of it! I've read NYT's Bestsellers that I don't like at all. *sigh*

Lynne Roberts said...

I think we've queried some of the same agents.

Great post, Catherine. And you're right, one "please send me more" makes up for 100 "no thanks."

Catherine Bybee said...

LOL, probably, Lynne.

Clare Revell said...

Two emails, 5 mins apart. Both from the same editor. First contains line edits. Second a rejection on somethig else.

Good job I have 10 days for the line edits cos I am so not wanting to write anything right now.

yvonnenicolas said...

Great post. It's true! We've all seen the dreaded rejection letters. I look at it this way, with every rejection you get, you that closer to a contract. Sail over it and keep pushing.
Got my fingers and toes crossed for you Cat!

Emma Lai said...

Catherine, fingers crossed for you and your Harlequin submission. You've inspired me to do my own similar post! Hope you don't mind. Thanks!

Judy said...

I don't know if I could stand the pressure of waiting for a "response", no matter what the outcome!!

Good luck!!!


Catherine Bybee said...

Clare: Hang in there. Rejections suck, but at least your trying.

Yvonne: Thanks for the cramped digits. And I agree, it only takes one yes to make all the no's worth while

Emma: You know what they say... best form of flattery, yadda, yadda. Eyes crossed too please! :-)

Judy: It's hard! But I just keep writing new stuff to keep my mind off the wait time. But I do call after 3 months to see where I'm at. I've spoke with several at HQN in the last year, and all have been wonderful, even if they say "Sorry, this wasn't for us." It's a business... they do know what they are doing to sell books and put out great work!

Shelley Munro said...

I've seen my fair of rejections, some of them practically the same as yours.

Congrats on your request! Good luck :)

Malika Bourne said...

Check out his rejection. I received a two inch raggedly cut strip of paper in my SASE with a square checked. The word beside the square read 'NO'.I got the message. At least they sent back my SASE.