Thursday, July 22, 2010

Rage rage against rejection letters

I'm not, thank God, on the submission round (yet) but I do believe I'm still reeling from the first one. To receive a form-rejection letter is soul-destroying. Agents who never reply is heart-breaking and agents who ask for the whole manuscript and then keep you waiting months and months without a word is enough to make the most stoic fall apart.

That is why a writing friend is posting "rejection misery" on her blog:  Some of the examples (except mine which is made-up) are unbelievably rude and uncaring.

Some years ago (here we go into the good-old past when we only had telex) I worked in the recruitment department of a huge multi-national which received hundreds of letters soliciting jobs that weren't advertised (a slush-pile if you like). Every letter was answered within a week - there weren't form letters, every one was typed and sent by post (OK, they may have all said the same thing, but at least they were short and sweet). If a person was interviewed then every three weeks he was sent a follow-up. Even the guy who replied with, "If you haven't got a job for me, then CREATE one" received a polite response.

A little lesson in manners, here and (I hope) food for thought because, believe it or not, writers are human with feelings.


  1. I love reading these kinds of posts because it means I'm not the only writer who goes through these trials!!

  2. Hey, girlfriend, thanks for the mention. I appreciate it!

  3. I'm panicked a little when I couldn't find your blog... haha. I'm not really sure what to say here except to offer my condolences, and say what people usually say -- they don't mean it personally, and they really don't have the time to craft personal letters for every single reply, considering the vast amount of material they receive. It's not that they don't think that writers aren't humans with feelings, they only have so much time to reply to query letters, which is why they just send out a form rejection. To ask for a personalized reply for every single query is a bit unreasonable.

    But to the agents that are extremely rude, ugh. That I think is unneeded.

  4. Absolutely Abby! I also wouldn't suggest a different letter for each query. I never did when I worked in Recruitment. However, there were no snarky remarks, or simply "No" written on the application letter. Something like "Thank you so much for... Unfortunately at this time...."
    I was also complaining about the waiting time without a word. A simple letter saying, "Sorry for the delay, we're still considering" wouldn't take a minute to send by email (and it's so much easier by email nowadays).

    Thanks for reading! Keep with me, I appreciate it.

    BTW Lauracea means "Laurel Forest" and it's indiginous to Madeira but currently in danger. One of these days I'll blog about it.

  5. Anonymous1:49 pm

    Rejections are a bummer, but at least they are proof you are 'out there fighting'

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