Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Thank you for your rejection. No, really. Thank you.

Still sending out query letters to agents. Here are my results so far, courtesy of QueryTracker:

The Closed/No Response are letters I sent out months ago and never heard back. The Rejections are, well, rejections -- all form letters (emails), with my name occasionally thrown in to make it sound personal. The exciting one is the Partial Request. That means partial manuscript. One agent read my query and the first five pages, and she requested the next 50 pages. A glimmer of hope on the sea of rejection!

Needless to say, querying agents is a very humbling experience. Especially coming from a work culture where we get positive reinforcement for every little thing (thanks for sending me this email... you're welcome, thanks for reading it... no problem, any time!... thanks again; here, I'll reply to all, so everyone knows how thankful I am!)

As the form emails roll in, you get starved for any type of personal feedback, even if it's bad. I've developed this trick to get some feedback (emerging writers, take heed). In an effort to stand out, I've made my query letter format a bit different than the standard formula. For the past few rejections, I've responded to them: "Thank you for the immediate response. A quick question: I know my query format is a little different -- I'm trying to stand out from the masses. Did the format work for you, or was it an automatic turn-off?"

A few agents have actually responded to this with a brief personal message. One agent said "the format is fine; it was the plot that didn't work for me." There it was, personal feedback from a genuine human. The way I felt, you'd have thought she'd sent me a love letter.


  1. Yikes. Getting published sounds like a nightmare! In fact, in reading your blog, it sounds like the entire experience of trying to get your book out into the world is kind of a nightmare. Hard to believe that so many people end up persevering and actually getting published!

  2. I think you should email the non-responders and say you've had a change of heart and no longer wish to provide your work to them, but thanks anyway. give them a dose of their own medicine.