Miss Manners says…

Today I got compliments on my rejections….

I was called prompt and courteous.
And someone said that it was the best written form letter they’d ever seen.

It’s always nice to have those counter-balance the replies wherein people are bitter or angry. Granted, replies make up an extremely small percentage of the query body as a whole — most people just accept and move on, which is also perfectly professional behavior. But one does appreciate honey rather than vinegar.

10:36pm ETA: I’ve also now gotten the comment that it was the “kindest rejection.”

6 responses to “Miss Manners says…

  1. I see writers all the time who scream about what they consider a “nasty” rejection when really, all it is is a form letter (funny how so many writers don’t recognize them as such). And even if it’s not a form letter, and something kind of snarky…well, there might a few snarky agents out there just as there are (more, I’m sure) snarky writers. These writers are often tempted to write back and “let ’em have it” OR ask why SPECIFICALLY their query/ms was rejected. I tell ’em to move on, too. Heck, I did it for 2 1/2 years.
    Rejection is hard, but so much easier from an agent who is “prompt and courteous.” Thanks!

  2. Do you think editors appreciate thank you notes, as well? I have sent one before, when it was a rejection on a requested full (that included some good suggestions). Recently I got a nice rejection letter for a query (with two chapters). It also had tips, and I’ve debated on whether I should send a thank you note or if that simply clutters up the mail system.

  3. Isn’t that nice, when people actually appreciate the work you put into rejections? I mean, you just gotta learn from those rejections and better yourself.

  4. Rejection letters are what they are. I don’t take it personally if I get a form letter. Agents and editors are busy and it’s not reasonable to expect them to hand-write a personalized letter. If they did every time, how could they possibly find the time to do the work of selling and publishing your book?
    Nonetheless, I have seen some very kind FORM letters, and while I know it wasn’t written personally to me, as a writer I appreciate the time and thought the editor or agent put into creating a letter that conveys good wishes and respect.
    Now, if there are some personalized scribblings (like, “Send me something else”) I’m all the more pleased. But I’ve come to see that as above and beyond, when it comes to a rejection letter.

  5. Question: I would guess that a good number of your readers are – like myself – interested in how one becomes an agent. Would you be willing to write about that here?
    Myself, I’ve thought about pursuing it for quite some time. How did you end up in this profession?

  6. It’s nice to know that an agent appreciates feedback such as that.
    I felt grateful when one agent responded within one day of my sending her my partial and she gave me some personalized reaction. It wasn’t a full critique or anything, (that would have floored me), but still I was honored that she took the time to personalize her rejection to my project.
    So, I sent her a thank you email. I wanted to know…at what point or what page did she stop reading, but I restrained myself.
    I didn’t want to be thought of as a pest. Instead, I merely thanked her for her interest in my project and for getting back to me so quickly.
    I thought she would appreciate some kind words.
    It’s nice to know that at least one of her colleagues views it as a courteous message and not SPAM.
    Linda McCabe

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