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Very frequently things happen at the office that keep us talking and laughing for weeks to come, so to spread the wealth I thought I’d share a few with you.

I rarely say that there’s anything in a query letter that is an automatic, instant rejection, because truthfully you just never know. However, this particular line really did floor me, and made me burst out in laughter: “I do not think my book is a work of art but honestly I have read worse.”

Or how about this paraphrased reply to my rejection and suggestion that maybe the author work on strengthening the query: “your sniveling, self-indulgent reply to my query . . . I suspect your ‘literary agency’ is nothing more than a hobby that you use to make yourself feel superior to anyone unfortunate enough to ask you to read their work.” Oh, and it was signed off with a very professional, “go F— yourself.”

Apparently our Web site isn’t nearly as clear as we think it is since I’ve received numerous emails of late asking for submission guidelines because the reader claimed that after reviewing the Web site she wasn’t able to find any. Maybe the link labeled “submissions” wasn’t big enough.


Category: Blog



  1. Double wow. Amazing what humor you can find in the general public.

    I was a travel agent many years ago, and a woman actually *did* ask me how she could get on board that “new” train to Hawaii. I kid you not. Internet jokes spread round and round; I swear this really happened to me. It took all my professionalism to suggest that perhaps she drive to a port to take a cruise if she wanted a balmy vacation but didn’t want to fly to get there 🙂

    Thanks again for continuing to blog with useful tips and info! Hope you have a great weekend 🙂


  2. That is the trouble with email, we ‘read’ so much emotion and ill-will into it! I see that happen in business all the time. It makes me wonder what it would take for these writers to realize their commentary did not bring them closer to their goal… Hm, I sense a book theme coming on 🙂

  3. I’ve read worse? Seriously? LOL

    Maybe the reason these people ask for your submission guidelines is a hope that somehow the guidelines will change between your site and what you send. Could be people who want to submit the whole manuscript up front, and just can’t believe you would tell them not to send it. *shrug*

  4. BookEnds always sends lovely rejection letters! How dare they!

    “I do not think my book is a work of art but honestly I have read worse.”Well, you can’t say they’re deluded about their own talent. It’s a common enough feeling among those who write, you’re just not supposed to say it out loud. 🙂

  5. The Writers Canvas…I got a good one for you. Years ago I worked at a reservations center for Carnival cruise lines but our office was in Colorado Springs. A TRAVEL AGENT knew that’s where we were (we even discussed the weather) and then asked (in all seriousness) What ships do you have departing from CO?

    I had a great response but my joke went over her head. The office laughed about that one for quite some time.

    Lesson from this and today’s post…THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK–OR WRITE.

  6. You know, the submission page is a bit vague. Sadie & Roscoe don't list what sort of books they represent at all. Are they still taking queries? And how many books about Timmy being stuck down the well does a dog really want to read?

  7. Wow, that’s awesome. I know I could never be an agent because I would have to reply to that, like this: “Instead of honing your skills alienating the people who might someday be your business partners, perhaps you should fix that steaming turd you call a query?’ But I’m not very nice, either. 🙂

  8. And people wonder why agents use the ‘no response means no,’ policy. Personally, I wouldn’t want to have to deal with that kind of response. Even if they are worth a laugh or two, you’ve still wasted time opening up the email and reading it. Be nice if you could scan incoming mail for derogatory comments and have it then dumped in the spam filter.

    I think that first author took the notion of being humble just a tad too far. lol. Amusing though.

  9. Omg!lol! ‘honestly I’ve read worse’? Oh yah, how to shoot yourself in the foot without even trying.

    I read an interesting and very true piece of advice reacently, on receiving critism and rejections: “Be prepared for criticism and remove personal consideration from the equation. Negative judgment cannot harm us if we refuse to take it personal.” Diane Wolfe. Sounds like maybe you need that on your letterhead, lol!

  10. It would be really hilarious if the timid, unsure author of the query was the angry, bitter responder to the rejection. A Jekyll and Hyde scenerio 🙂

    I, too, have received rejection letters from Jessica – very polite, very nice. And I had no problems finding the submission guidelines (but if you’re looking for suggestions, maybe neon green with flashing arrows).

  11. More writers would benefit from some basic college marketing/advertising classes. Knowing what are negative statements and words is a great skill to learn. Don’t say what your product/service isn’t. Say what it *is*. Don’t say you can’t do/offer. Say what you can do/offer.

  12. That enticed me to follow the link to the agency’s website for the first time. Boy was that a mistake. The ‘Latest Releases’ box was all it took to erase a great deal of respect.

    It never ceases to amaze me that there are people out there publishing that sort of tripe. (or reading it for that matter)

    ‘Literary’ agency indeed.

  13. Someone doesn’t have their happy pants on.

    Romance is awesome. Sounds like you need to read a little to get out of that foul mood.

  14. Is this a dumb question? In the bad old days of typewriters editors would ask us to underline phrases we wanted italicized. Since today we use computers, are we allowed to italicize in the manuscripts we submit? (I often use an Olivetti manual–I’m kind of retro that way.)

  15. anon 6:09

    why are you even posting here? I agree with the second anon….you need a large cup of happy or something…..

  16. Quote: “A TRAVEL AGENT knew that’s where we were (we even discussed the weather) and then asked (in all seriousness) What ships do you have departing from CO?”

    Karen, blame it on country music. I quote again:

    “It won’t be long ‘fore my ship comes in; gonna sail right outa’ Colorado….”

  17. I have nominated you for a lemonade stand award.

    I have no idea where this idea come from (or what the end result will be), but as your blog is full of useful insights and a lot of great attitude, I have nominated you.

    Anyone care to second it?

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