Once upon a time, I sent out eleven query letters for THE INBETWEEN. (That was last Thursday). Yesterday my rejection tally reached the sad, sad number four. Even sadder, the rejection I got yesterday was from an agent that I randomly chose to crush on, because she had a cool name, cool recs, and a cool agency. Apparently that’s as far as our relationship went.
Okay, I know that I am being slightly irrational. Maybe very irrational. I need to steel myself for piles and piles of rejections, and this might only be the beginning. But I feel like being sad, so today I’m going to analyze the…
THREE LEVELS OF REJECTION
…using war-torn, battle-stained rejections of my own. Ready, go.
1. OHHH BURN. These rejections are the worst. They start off like this:
Thank you so much for sending in your query. We’d like to apologize for the impersonal nature of this rejection letter.
Can’t get much worse. The agent (yes, I know, agents are busy, but still) did not even type your name. This is a BIG NO.
2. OHHH WELL.
To Kirsten Rice,
Thank you for submitting to ___.
We greatly appreciate your submission, and have
given THIS BRIEF FREEDOM our careful
consideration. Unfortunately, your project is not
a good fit for us at this time.
We wish you the best of luck in finding an
enthusiastic agent and in your writing career.
Better. There’s a name — and also the name of the book (in this case my previous novel that is trunked for the moment. Hurray! It is also slightly consoling, although not really because the answer is still a BIG NO.
Thanks again for letting me read This Brief Freedom. Your writing is really lovely, and I think you have a good concept here. Sadly, I had a hard time connecting with Rosalie, especially as she shifted so quickly from genteel young lady to crewman. While I’m going to have to pass on this novel, I’m sure you’ll find success with your writing. Please keep me in mind for future projects.
So this was a rejection after an initial FULL REQUEST (!!), so naturally it is more personalized. One time I did get a straight query rejection, though, that was personalized and quite encouraging, but I can’t find it. Anyway, this rejection has lots going for it: author name, name of the book, and some compliments AND suggestions to top it all off! Although this is still a NO, there is hope!
4. (I know I said three, but this is actually not a rejection…) OOOHHHH HURRAY!
Please send by email, thanks.
This one confused me, and I had to read it like five or ten times before I understood that it was a FULL REQUEST — and I screamed for a few minutes straight. Seriously, there is nothing like getting one of these. I got five or six for TBF and every time I just died of happiness. I mean, savor these words:
Thanks for telling me about the book. I’d like to see if the writing engages me, so please send…
How awesome. How, how awesome. Too bad THE INBETWEEN has gotten four #1’s …
Update: as Stephanie pointed out in the comments, I should stop being so glum. Check out this brighter view of rejection at David Callinan’s blog, Tall Story.