Monday, June 13, 2011

The Non-Rejection Rejection

Still riding the Query-Go-Round....

Have you noticed that there is an alarming trend among agents these days? I know it's not a "new" new thing, but it seems to be spreading. It's the non-rejection Rejection.

I guess it's always been the case that writers aren't supposed to call literary agents, or try to follow-up on a query they've submitted. It is preferred that we wait patiently for the agent to get back to us. Which is fine. After all, there's only one of them at their desk, and potentially thousands of us writers clamoring for attention. It makes sense for us to wait for a response.

But what if the response is no response?

I've noticed that a lot of agents now say right on their websites that if they don't respond in 8-12 weeks, it means they aren't interested. So, you could wait 2-3 months and not hear anything and then that lack of response is your rejection.

Seems like a cop-out.

I'm not suggesting that agents aren't busy people, with their own clients to worry about and books to sell. Heck, when I land an agent, I want him or her to be working their hardest for me. On the other hand, if an agent is open to queries, wouldn't you like to know that someone is reading them?

I would rather receive at least a form rejection than not hear anything at all, because at least then you're sure your query was received. That someone at least took the time to click it open and read the few short paragraphs that you've agonized and scrutinized and taken the time to perfect.

What do you think? Is the silent rejection a valid business model? D you query those agents anyway, and just make note of the stated response times? How do you deal with silence?

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  1. Especially with e-mail and cut and paste options, it would take all of fifteen seconds to send a form rejection. I don't think it's great. I mind it less when they say it upfront. When some long period of time has come, and I realize that must be "NO!", that's less fair.

  2. I completely agree with you. It's so easy to email a rejection. I won't submit to an agent who won't respond.

  3. Yes, I wonder why they do that? I can't believe it's because they don't want submitters to follow-up their queries. It's more of a temptation if they don't answer because people wonder if they ever received the query. A polite thanks but no thanks should be easy to do.

  4. Right? If you don't hear anything, it's like a black hole and you're left wondering...

    I obviously agree with Theresa - it's so easy to create a form letter with one click and hit send. Why give anyone the silent treatment?

  5. I agree. It wouldn't take an agent long to send even a form rejection--and at least that way the response would be more definite.

  6. Hi Katie - a good post and important subject. I'd far rather have an automatic response than no response at all. One of the few UK magazines which takes short stories changed their policy, stating that if you hadn't heard within 6 months then the story wasn't rejected. That's bad enough, but I then had one accepted after a year! What are we suposed to do - it's bad enough waiting, without having no definite reply.

  7. The query process is such a frustrating and emotional time. *hugs* I hope you receive a great email any day now. :)

  8. I am with you. I want a response, even if it is a form letter. The non-response drives me crazy!

  9. I agree with you. At least a standard rejection means they have received and/or read it!

    Ellie Garratt


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