Monday, March 2, 2009

Who knew I could write such a good query?

If you are a writer, or if you are a person who's experienced rejection, you will understand this: I spent 8 + years sending out queries for short stories (no takers) and 5 + years querying various incarnations of my soon-to-be published novel THE HANDBOOK FOR LIGHTNING STRIKE SURVIVORS, and Saturday, I received one of the worst standard rejection form letters; the agent actually pretended to have read a ms. that was never sent. I had only sent a query letter. "Dear Author..." Her rejection indicates the typical, "there was much to admire in your work," but the funny bit is that I didn't send any "work." I sent a query letter. Just the same, she "enjoyed reading [it]." Who knew I wrote such engrossing query letters?

My advice to this agent: Have separate rejection letters for queries and separate rejection letters for submissions. It's kind of pathetic on her part; it's insulting to potential clients and writers. I just received this query rejection dated 2/24/08, and my novel sold on 11/14/08. I hope this agent rethinks her approach. There are so many people on the web badmouthing the query process and the publishing industry, most of which is uncalled for: publishing is tough. It's incredibly tough! In my mind: this agent, who probably didn't read the query, and most certainly didn't read a submission that was never submitted, gives all that badmouthing credence. Boo! Don't fret. There's still time for her redemption. No one is beyond hope. More advice: remember that writers are people who care deeply about their craft. Rejection is part of the deal, but it can be handled more humanely. Again, separate your queries from your actual submissions, and if your client list is booked, send the form that states, "I am no longer accepting unsolicited manuscripts." A little goes a long way. xoxox

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