By request, I’m doing something that for some reason feels a little scary. I’m going to post my standard rejection letter on the blog. I don’t know why this feels scary, like I’m revealing a big dirty secret or something, since you can find this in various writers’ forums and websites all over the Internet.
That being said, here goes:
Thank you so much for sending along your query and for giving BookEnds a chance to consider your work. While I found your query intriguing I’m afraid I wasn’t sufficiently enthusiastic to ask for more at this time.
As I’m sure you know, publishing is a subjective business and I’m sure there’s another agent out there better suited to your work.
I wish you the best of luck and the greatest success.
Now, keep in mind that this is my standard rejection. I also have a few variations of this for different circumstances. For example, if I feel your query is a complete disaster I might suggest you revamp it before sending it to other agents; if your query was really close and maybe a tweak or two would have pushed me to asking for more, I have a rejection for that. I also have responses for queries that are sent as attachments (but I won’t read), novellas (which I typically don’t do), queries for books with obvious word count issues, etc.
So, since I shared my rejection, I’m curious. If you were an agent receiving close to 100 queries a day, what kind of standard rejection would you write? Or would you even send rejections? Would you try to personalize every one?
The trick for me is writing a rejection that’s kind and encouraging, that’s vague enough so that the author doesn’t think a rewrite is necessary when I don’t know if it is, and that doesn’t sound condescending. Believe it or not, I don’t want to crush the hopes and dreams of authors.