My previously theoretical situation remained quite that way, as it turned out. Office mayhem being what it is at the end of the year, though I sorted out things to read, I didn’t get very far. But I was really very interested to see everyone’s responses. Not that I have time to do so today but I went back through all the comments, and came up with the following results:
Just Send ’em and Get It Over With: 35 votes
Rejection Sucks, especially during the Holidays: 11 votes
As you can see, those who prefer to rip the bandaid off outnumbered the rest by about 3:1. I wanted to say thanks to everyone who weighed in and for all the food for thought. It’s very valuable to me to remember that there are lots of different opinions out there and that I’m dealing with a lot more than huge piles of paper.
I think I may have realized it was actually my own feelings I was sparing. I never enjoy sending rejections (okay, I take that back – there was once an ex-boyfriend of mine that submitted to the agency, and even though I didn’t read the manuscript myself – I *knew* I couldn’t be objective, I got to take the reply to the post office)…. but I think I feel guilty on top of everything else for doing it at this time of year.
At least a couple people suggested that I skip the holiday and time things out so that things would arrive *just* after. The big flaw in that plan is that our office generally closes between Christmas and New Year’s, so whatever I don’t get done beforehand, isn’t getting done until probably the 2nd week of January – because the first week back is always crazy with the mail opening and getting things back out to market for the rejections *we* received. On top of that, I’m really not that thrilled about spending my holiday *writing* rejections (and thanks to that person who warned me not to overwork myself – that’s always a risk these days!). As a couple other people pointed out, I can’t know what else is going on in the person’s life – a birthday, an anniversary (or, on the other end, a family crisis). So, it’s rather an artificial proviso to fret so much over the timing of a rejection.
There were also various asides made – both in comments here and elsewhere – about the issue of it being a business and that other businesses don’t accept or reject proposals for work based on how the person putting forth that proposal would feel. Though it is often the case that writing requires an emotional investment from the author that may not be inherent in things like construction work, this is a very good point. I certainly do respect and, in many cases, admire the quotient of this endeavour which involves the heart and soul. But this *must* be balanced with an understanding of how the industry works — if the author wishes to participate in such a way as to shoot for things like great financial rewards, best-seller lists, and amazing reviews by professional publications.
And, yes – matociquala, I can be cruel. And you should know. *g* I know of at least two non-clients reading this that have submissions on my shelf. No doubt they found this discussion slightly torturous. There may be more that I am unaware of. To those people who mentioned that they have things that have been with an editor or an agent more than a year, if it’s me — I don’t have it. I’m not *quite* that far behind. It may have not reached me, or the reply may have not reached you. If it was unsolicited, different rules may apply. A followup letter with SASE is perfectly reasonable (given whatever time limits might be listed for response periods).
And now I’m off to do things other than send rejections, but not because of what day it happens to be. Happy holidays to everyone.
I think a useful distinction is to look at what the writing is for. If someone is writing for personal satisfaction, then yes, feelings are the main consideration.
But that’s not what you do. People come to you when they want to sell it. Writing may be very personal. Selling can’t really afford to be. My two cents. =)
*g* I still haven’t forgiven you for the “So…. do *you* like this draft better?” thing, I’ll have you know….
Very happy Peter’s doing better, BTW.
Well, if I had known the delay would be three weeks I would have changed my vote, I think. A shift of a couple days would be pretty immaterial to me – weeks on the other hand is significant.
Though I once worked for a company that had a layoff a week and a half before Christmas, and I found it to be just about the jerkiest thing ever. (I didn’t stay with that company much longer, nor did many other people. They got decimated in the spring when the job market was better.) So yeah, I think there is something to be said for timing and what’s appropriate even in a strictly business environment.
Glad to hear the situation is still theoretical. Guess I can stop biting my nails quite as hard 🙂
So you know, the thoughtfulness and consideration I’ve seen you display on LJ for authors, clients and non-clients alike, is one of the things that put you at the top of my list of agents to query.
Whether you reply before or after Christmas, your response rate still seems to be faster than the majority of agents and editors out there.
A non-client who _doesn’t_ have a query in
I didn’t answer the first question, as I’m not a professional author. (Can I add “yet” or is that arrogant?)
I’d say go ahead and sent rejections as they come up, but I have a different take on it. If, or maybe when, I send something to you, I’ll be asking for something valuable – your professional opinion. No matter what, I’ll learn something from rejections – even if it’s that I shouldn’t quit my day job.
While I can respect that you don’t like to reject submissions – I feel the same way when I reject a job candidate – don’t discount the value of the work you’ve done to get to that point.