Monday, December 13, 2010

Ranking Rejections

Rejection is never easy.  It’s not easy to give it.  It’s not easy to receive it.  (Although I’m pretty sure it’s harder to receive it.  But das jus me.)
That said, is it possible that some rejection is better than others?  Have you ever received a rejection that made you feel a little less rejected ?  

Down below I have ten rejections that encompass pretty much every style I’ve ever received.  Which one would you rather have in your inbox?  Is less more?  Or do you like when the agent apologizes and reassures you about your aptitudes?  Up to you to decide!

1. Thank you very much for your query, which we have read with interest. Unfortunately, the project does not seem right for this agency, and we are sorry that we cannot offer to serve as your literary agent.  We also apologize for the form rejection.  The sheer number of queries we receive prevents personalization in order for us to respond in a timely fashion. We wish you all the best in finding more suitable representation, encourage you to query widely, and thank you for giving us the opportunity to consider your work.

2. Thanks so much for your query.  Unfortunately, though, I don't believe I'd be the right agent for your work.  I wish you much success.

 
3. Thank you for your recent query letter and your interest in Redacted.  We are always eager to hear from writers who are serious about the business of writing; unfortunately, we do not feel that Redacted is the right company to represent your work.  We have to be very selective of what we choose to represent, and all of our decisions are based on a frank assessment of the current needs of the literary and film markets.  The fact that this work doesn’t fit our narrow criteria for representation does not mean it couldn’t find a home elsewhere.  We urge you to submit your work to other agencies or management companies that may be more suited to this type of material.

4. Thank you for submitting your work to Redacted. Unfortunately, your manuscript isn't a good fit for us.  Best of luck with other agencies.

5. Thank you for thinking of me in connection with your writing. I don't feel that I would be the best person to work with you on this project, but I do wish you all good luck placing it in the right hands.

6. I have received your query.  After careful evaluation, I have decided that I am not the right agent to represent your work.  I'm sure another agent will feel quite differently about your material though.  Thank you for considering our agency.  I wish you the best of luck finding representation.

7. Thank you for your submission to Redacted. Unfortunately, we are taking on very few new clients and we did not feel your manuscript was something we would be able to successfully market at this time. Agents often have very different opinions, however, and we wish you the best of luck in your search for representation.  Please be assured that every manuscript is reviewed by at least one member of our staff but due to the high volume of submissions we receive, we cannot offer individual comments on your manuscript.  I am sorry to give you this disappointing news and should stress that this is just my opinion and others may view your work very differently. I wish you every success with your writing.


8. Thank you for your submission to Redacted. We read your query and have come to the conclusion that it is not something we wish to pursue at this time.  Best of luck with your writing career.

9. Thank you for letting me see this.  I’m sorry to say that I don’t feel it is going to be one for me.   The market is very tough at the moment and I can only take on new writers whom I truly believe I can place successfully. Your work has some nice points, but sadly I don’t feel quite the level of conviction that I need.  Wishing you all the best with your writing career.


 10. I'm sorry, but I am probably not the right agent for this work.     I wish you the best of luck with the project. 

As for me, after all the rejections I’ve received, I much prefer #10.  --it’s a rejection so whether it’s a quick one sentence reject or a two paragraph reject, the outcome is the same, so just rip it off like a bandaid! The worst is probably #7 which basically refers to your work as unmarketable.  Strangle me now.
What do you think?

45 comments:

Renae said...

Wow, some of these look familiar! I would have to agree that #7 is the most painful. I too like the short, sweet and to the point rejections.

Anne Gallagher said...

Yes, I remember these well from last year. I like the simple ones too. Thanks but no thanks. At least they don't make you feel "less than".

Vicki Rocho said...

I tend to *like* the shorter ones. #7 and #9 seem a trifle harsh.

salarsenッ said...

Sweetie, just couldn't bring myself to read those right now with what's going on with me. Hee...I really need to keep a positive attitude. I will say, however, that rejections can (and I hope) should be constructive and helpful. I've heard more writers tell me that the information one rejection gave them about their writing or work lead to changes which eventually lead them to publication. lol

Cruella Collett said...

Well, first of all I seriously think you should consider querying other agencies than Redacted... (Sorry, I just had to...) I agree with you, though, # 7 is the worst. I guess the ones mentioning that they just don't think they're the right fit are the best. At least they leave some hope.

Query on, sista!

Gina said...

I absolutely hate rejections where they tell you they are "highly selective" and that is why they can't represent you. It's the same thing as saying you're not nearly good enough and we laughed in your query's general direction!

But I still think all of these are better than the silent rejection. I ranted at length about them in my own blog. I'll take the "highly selective" jab over not-worth-a-response any day!

Candyland said...

Yeah I hate the ones that ramble on and on about how they're very selective (meaning you're not good enough) and blah blah blah...

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I recognize some of these. They all feel like slaps in the face. The long rambling ones are the worst. I received a two page form rejection once (the same one mentioned on the QT comments for the agent). Seriously, did the agent believe anyone would actually read it and care? I didn't read beyond 'Sorry.' That said all I needed to know. ;)

Jen Daiker said...

I've never received one so I am not going to share with which one I prefer. I feel like I'd be lying to myself because either way the only words I'll see in my head would be:

YOU'VE BEEN REJECTED. DEAL WITH IT.

It'd be in red ink for emphasis as well.

Katie Anderson said...

Ah, rejections. Though it is always really good to receive some kind of personalised feedback - I always find that those are always the most painful to receive. They show that the agent in question has read your work... and that they just didn't like it. Ouch!

Samantha Vérant said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Samantha Vérant said...

I like the quick ones too...unless an agent has requested material. Grrr. Grrr. Grrr. Rejections; they suck. I saw an agent on Twitter say he/she uses the Dear Author format because, we, the writers, know who we are. Seriously? Then, with that said, should we address her/him as Dear Agent? Frustrating! Yes!

Tracy said...

Hey, I've seen some of these before!!

To me rejections all pretty much all feel the same anymore.

Melissa Gill said...

Oh yeah, I recognize these little gems. I agree, a one liner, thanks but no thanks is fine with me. The outcome is the same after all.

I have actually become a fan of the "no news is bad news" format. If the agency states up front that after xweeks no response s/b considered a rejection, and they have a auto-response on e-mail, then I'm good with it. I just set the date on Querytracker.com, and check them off my list when the date arrives. It actually feels less like a rejection than a bunch of platitudes strung together.

Red Boot Pearl said...

#10 all the way.

Even though they are all form rejections the longer ones just make it seem so fake and like they are trying to soften the blow.

Maybe it's the whole pointing the finger thing, most of them are saying well your work just doesn't measure up but the last one is just saying I'm not the right person for this (which really is softening the blow...except it doesn't feel like it). It's not what you say, it's how you say it.

Shannon said...

Short to the point is the best way to go. The long rambly ones feel like an attempt to be personal when really it's just a form.

Sorry these are in your mail box. Hopefully you'll see something positive soon. Hang in there!

Laura Maylene said...

These are all form rejections, so I'd consider them equal. (But what is up with #3...is that the entire thing? Weird.) Form rejections don't faze me so much. There is no way to know what they mean in any way, so it doesn't really mater to me how they word it and how they try to pretty it up. They're all saying the same thing anyway.

I did get one form rejection from a literary magazine that seemed especially cold...I can't even remember how it was worded, but it was very odd. For someone who gets as many lit mag rejections as I do, having your rejection stand out among all the other form letters is quite impressive!

The "better" rejections are the personal ones. But then, I've received some personal rejections that are so glowing and detailed and that indicate it was a very close call -- those are almost more frustrating than getting a form rejection.

The worst rejections of all are the ones that come after, for whatever reason, you had reason to think the piece had a chance of being accepted.

Raquel Byrnes said...

I think any rejection stings, but is far better than no response at all. Not even rating a half-sheet form letter would put a ding in anyone's armor.

StaceyW said...

Unless the agent gives personal, constructive criticism - which, I realize, never happens - I see no reason for more than #10: the short and the sweet.

Emphasis on the sweet, though. Politeness counts (says the people-pleasing daughter of a Brit).

On that note, I kind of like #1. Apologizing for sending a form rejection? That sounds like something I'd do if I were an agent, lol.

Matthew Rush said...

It's funny because I know half of the agencies that these come from (unless they're sharing form letters now). But I have to agree, if you're going to kick me in the teeth, keep it as short as possible please.

Melody said...

Honestly, the one I'd want most (be most appreciative of, rather), would be #9. The agent is civil, but also honest. Saying that he/she didn't feel 'quite the level of conviction' that he/she needed would make me grit my teeth and go to work making it more 'convictable.'

After I went and cried. For hours. :/ :)

Jessica Bell said...

yeah, I agree with you. Rip it off like a bandaid!

Old Kitty said...

Oh they're all horrible!! I am so sorry!! My eyes teared up reading these!!

Big big hugs!! Take care
x

Carolyn V. said...

I'd rather have a short one than a harsh one. But a constructive one is even better. =)

Dawn said...

I agree with your assessment, but with one caveat - they aren't saying your book isn't marketable, they're saying THEY can't market it, which means someone else (smarter? more passionate?) will be able to!

Colene Murphy said...

I liked #5. But I did decide I don't particularly prefer the ones where they mention how few they can take and all the other queries they get. I don't know why, but I just found those less appealing.

Laura Pauling said...

Short and sweet is fine with me. Personal rejections are a bit nicer, esp. if they invite you to submit again, but anyway you look at it, it's still an R.

Tamara Narayan said...

Boy, these all sound terribly familiar! You want to know a secret? If the first two words in the email response are "Thank you . . .", I know it's a rejection. Anything that starts with "I was . . ." has been a request for pages.

I agree that the shorter one is better, but I recently got passed over by an agent after they asked for revisions. That was the most painful, yet most productive, interaction I've had so far. My manuscript is so much stronger, but still not represented. Oh well, back to the drawing board . . .

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I could live with #3. Besides, it appears Redacted doesn't like anyone's work!

Cherie Reich said...

I think 10 and 5 make me feel the least rejected. It sounds like it's more them and not me. Yeah, I know how that probably isn't it, but it sounds better. *laughs*

The worse ones are 7 and 9, I think. I'd hate to think my work wasn't marketable, and 9 mentions that you had nice points but your writing isn't up to par, so to speak.

Sometimes shorter is better. Just get it over with and move on. Then again, if there is a real problem, I'd like to know. Maybe. *laughs*

Donna Hosie said...

A short form rejection is definitely best.

But any form rejection is better than no reply at all.

DL Hammons said...

As most others have pointed out...a form rejection is a rejection...regardless of its length. Unless the responder offers something I can utilize to better my manuscript...or query letter...then a No is a NO. :)

Talli Roland said...

I'm pretty sure I've got all of these at some point. I still prefer number 10. Clean, simple and nothing to agonise over.

Nicole Zoltack said...

I've gotten all of them too. If you're gonna reject me with no feedback, then 10 is what I want to receive. Although I prefer some kind of personalized feedback - don't we all?

randine said...

Yes, I recognize some of these...
At this point, I'm happy to even get rejected at all, with all the no responders out there.

Hart Johnson said...

I liked 6 and 9.

*Leers suspiciously*

That might just be me. They just sounded surer you'd find somebody ELSE to rep you though... I like that little vote of confidence in there--though if they are form letters, that probably isn't fair, as not everyone deserves encouragement.

LTM said...

ooo... I def. prefer the "it's not you, it's me" rejection. I got a really sh!tty rejection on Debut Novel from an agent I swore never to query again as long as I lived... Man! Now I can't remember who it was... LOL!!! :D

sigh.

solidarity! <3

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Wow, I've had some of these. I don't think they will ever be a rejection letter I'd rather get, but I like when they are to the point. :)

Jamie Gibbs (Mithril Wisdom) said...

Short and 'sweet' (or bitter, as the case may be) is best for a rejection, but if that's the route they wish to take then adding a little personal touch might be a good idea, so you know they actually took the time to read your MS in the first place!

Melissa said...

The quicker the better! I go with #10

Carolyn Abiad said...

I'd rather they not send anything back and work on constructive criticism for the ones they might possibly someday, after some serious revisions, represent. If we all get a rejection with the soft let down, how will we know where we truly stand? Is my work horrible? Is there a snowball's chance in hell? etc...

Anne R. Allen said...

I'd never really thought about it, but some form rejections do twist the knife more than others. The one I hate most is "we're very selective." That says "We're Harvard and you're Podunk Community College material."

You're absolutely right that number 10 inflicts the least amount of pain.

Although, of course every single one of them feels like somebody has stomped on your soul...

Slamdunk said...

It is like picking from a basket of rotten fruit. I prefer short as well.

Susan Fields said...

I agree, #7 is the worst. I also don't like when they feel the need to assure you that at least one agent read your work. I guess that's to let you know it really is deserving of their rejection.

Janet Johnson said...

For form rejections, I think short and sweet is best. No point in dragging it out. But if and agent gives personal comments, by all means, make it as long as you want!

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