Monday, October 8, 2012

Reason 100 why editors/agents don’t bother with personal rejections

The other month I gave a detailed explanation as to what I thought might be wrong with a manuscript and why we were rejecting it. This included typos, repetitive sentences, and some flawed research on the first five pages. Yet, at the kernel was a good idea.

My thought in writing the personal rejection, that included pointing out these issues, was that perhaps this writer had never submitted before, had never had a personalized rejection, and indeed may not have researched how to submit. I was trying to be encouraging.

I failed miserably. 

The reaction from the author was fast and vitriolic. Why couldn’t I just say “no,” he asked. I didn’t have to, as he said, “write a novel rejecting me.” The swear words were liberally sprinkled in the response.

Now, we deal almost exclusively with email. This tends to be a rapid response medium, with often no thinking before hitting send. I have been as guilty as anyone of this. I will assume that some of this came from the author reacting and not thinking.

That said, no editor is going to feel any reward from this sort of response and the reaction will be “the more I get these, the less personal my responses will be.”

Really, this is a long winded way of saying, take any detail in a response from an editor as something valuable. If ten minutes went into that response, plus the time it took to read the query and the first pages, then you are getting something of value. Thank the agent, or editor, for their time.  Don’t demand more of their time. Don’t get angry at the rejection.

Detail means something moved the agent or editor to actually pause and write! Take it and use it! Don't take it out on the person trying to help.

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