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In response to rejections . . .

Jessica F. received this:

I understand this:

Literature is an occupation in which you have to keep proving your talent to people who have none.

– Jules Renard

Jessica A. received this:

Subject: You Are an A**Hole!

Jessica F. received this in reply to the auto-reply letting authors know the query was received:

Well, that confirms it. Take your form and stick it up your fat stuck-up ass.

. . . and this from the same author in reply to the rejection:

Interesting. You’re not “hooked” yet you waste your time writing back to me. Anyway, the blood will continue to flow at BookEnds and beyond.

. . . and then, because the author continued to reply, he continued to receive the auto-reply about his query being received:

I did not query bookends this time though I did previously. Here’s an idea. How about you get a fucking life, stop sending me these forms actually read the query I sent to you previously.

And so it went:

I don’t mean to tie up your system or anything but this is getting kind of stupid. There must be some human somewhere to stop this madness. How about this? Read my query, feel its urgency and let’s get started. If not, kindly stop your silly forms.

And again:



*** Now, keep in mind that I can go days without checking my queries. Luckily I popped into that mailbox and did finally stop the insanity. Although it was tempting to see how long my computer and this author were going to go at it.


Category: Blog



  1. Thanks for the laugh this morning.

    With the "blood will continue to flow" comment, you probably could have reported him to the police. Not that it was a real threat, but it would have been satisfying to have the cops knock on his door.

  2. I'm always impressed that someone would take the time to find BookEnds, find your email address, and write a query – but not find any time to research the query process (you know, the one that includes 'professionalism' as one of the important ingredients). I always feel a little better after reading these – I want to be memorable, but this reminds me it's not always bad to have my email "jump out of the stack"

  3. Wow, that's tragic. Can't believe there are human beings like this out there. Idiots like this are really not helping us genuine authors who see rejection as part of the process and a chance to improve. Kudos to agents for putting up with this kind of person and still allowing unsolicited queries!

  4. "Hmm… I send messages to this address and get an auto-response each time. I wonder what will happen if I keep sending messages to this same address? Oh, look–auto-responses. Maybe if I send more messages to this address…"

    Talk about not ready to publish–this person isn't ready to walk out the front door!

  5. You deal with some rude people. The language alone is enough to offend. It's a wonder any agent ever takes the time to respond when they have to get this in their in-box. On behalf of somewhat sane authors, Thank you for taking the time to respond. At least we know where we stand.


  6. I'm glad you found this funny!

    The way people like this act makes life tougher for the saner among us. I even came across one agent writing on her submissions page that the reason she doesn't reply unless interested is because she's found that a "no" brings out venomous responses.

    Of course, the people reading this blog are not the types who need to learn this, but if your query is rejected, move on. If your full is rejected, send a short, polite note thanking the agent for their time–and MOVE ON.

    That completes my rant for the day.

  7. I continue to be amazed about how cluelessly rude people can be, with so much pent-up and randomly directed anger.

    I think electronic communication brings out the worst in people — it certainly did in the "comments" section of the web site of the newspaper where I used to work. Bigotry, racism, ad hominem attacks, general nastiness. Sure, in the old pen-and-paper days, you would have gotten people writing back with spleen and obscenity, but I don't think there would have been as many.

  8. Jessica: I don't think you should have stopped it. Just let the interaction go on between computer and human to test the limits of human stupidity. It could make a good case study, somewhere.

  9. My face and my palm meet in defeat.


    Not only is responding to a rejection with rage and personal insults rude, it's illogical.

    I don't understand writers who believe the agent/editor/manager somehow owes them something. It is quite the opposite: you are doing the query writer a favor by accepting unsolicited submissions. You don't have to even respond.

    The worst, however, is when the query writer somehow obtains your office phone number, and continues to pester you saying, "Have you read my query? I want to check on the status of my query submission." Because then you have expend the energy necessary to hunt down that query, and send a formal rejection.

    Something I learned fast as a writer: If you haven't heard back in five months, they're not interested.

    /end hijack rant

  10. Elizabeth @ 10:56:
    I think you've written the last line for the short story this whole episode could be made into. Bravo! 🙂

  11. I think the rude and repetitive fellow/gal maybe mistook your computer for Turing Hopper from Donna Andrews's series???

    BTW, I agree with David Klein.

    And Elizabeth's response made me LOL even harder!!

  12. That. Was. Hilarious. Thanks for sharing!

    You were professional enough not to share his name here… but this is the sort of behavior I always imagine would race through the agent grapevine, in a sort of friends-don't-let-friends-sign-jerks sort of way.

  13. Such is the flaw of automated replies; however, without them, authors might not know that receipt has taken place. What needs doing is a one-time only auto-response, followed by "dump into folder X…"

    Still, no reason to "shit bricks" at you…it's not your fault.

  14. I'm glad you can laugh at this–it is definitely funny, but I'm offended on your behalf. You're much more tolerant than I would be. I would definitely have given this person a piece of my mind. On behalf of the rest of us, thank you for sending autoreplies to let us know the query has been received, and for taking the time to let us know politely if the MS is not for you. Please know that most of us appreciate it.

    The rudeness and aggressive stupidity of some people never ceases to amaze me.

  15. That is beyond funny. I'm presuming your auto reply message is a lot like the one we use in my office – it states it's an auto reply message and asks the person receiving it not to reply to that specific email address. We get people who respond anyway but not to the extent that this guy did.

  16. I wonder if he thought your name is "Automated Reply"?

    It would have been even more hilarious to see him screaming at his laptop in some Starbucks, threatening to throw hot coffee on it when he got the replies.

  17. For someone trying to make a career with words, he should probably learn what "automated" means. Plus, it'd be a better use of his time to just block your email if they bother him so much, since he can hardly respect to get any sort of positive personal response after that little display.

  18. It blows my mind that authors can be so hateful. I'm glad you're able to get a laugh from their unkind remarks. On behalf of all of us authors who do NOT behave that way, I apologize for their behavior.

  19. I'd have so kept him and the computer at it for as long as it took to either burn the circuitry or wear his fingers into submission.

    That was not only funny as hell, but a sad reminder that not all competition in this game is created equal.

    Hey, more odds in favor of we who know how it should be done.

  20. LOL is right! That is just crazy. It reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where George leaves numerous messages with increasing mania on a girl's answering machine. He then, of course, has to find a way in so that he can attempt to destroy her machine's tape…

  21. First of all, thank you for sending an auto reply to say a query was received. The Internet swallows too many.

    Second of all, that's hilarious. You were generous, or wanting to end the laughter that made your stomach ache, in stopping it for him.

  22. In a lot of ways this is really sad, I mean, what was this person thinking, how dumb could they honestly be?
    But seriously, some people's comments here had me falling off my chair laughing. Thanks for sharing. Some days I feel crazy doing this gig and something like this makes me realize its okay because I'm not THAT crazy.

  23. But why did you stop it? Think how much more entertainment you could have derived from watching him argue with an automated reply bot!

  24. maybe this is selfish – but this makes me FUMING mad! i totally get being upset and feeling frustrated – i'm sure every author has felt that way at some point or another. the difference is we let it out by eating chocolate and getting on with our lives. it's jerks like him that ruin it for the rest of us and make good agents turn to policies that they otherwise might not have needed to.

  25. Oh dear.

    I feel so very lucky that at R&T we've never received a nasty email back from one of our rejection letters, or receipt letters! It's difficult enough sending out rejections without being blasted for it.

  26. And here I was thinking I was rude for accidentally querying the same person twice within three months!

    I can empathise, but not condone what he's doing. Querying is super-stressful. I'm glad to be over that hurdle, hopefully for good, but I think it's sort of a sick joke. Take a group of people who have far higher than normal emotional sensitivity, put them in an environment of oppressive, failure and rejection and see who's strong enough to survive, yet sensitive enough to still write so passionately that the reader can feel it.

    To be clear I don't blame agents for the way things work. This has always been the way for most forms of art.

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