Thought for the Day

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Jul 22 2011

Before you get smug or cocky or just plain rude in your reply to a rejection, think twice.

All BookEnds agents have a policy to reply to each of our own queries. That being said, I will frequently pass along a query to Kim or Jessica after I’ve replied with a rejection. This means I’m not requiring them to reply, because I already did, but I am giving them the chance to request if they want. If you follow up with a nasty response, I’m going to send that along to Kim or Jessica as well. And trust me, we don’t like working with smug or nasty people.


28 responses to “Thought for the Day”

  1. I totally agree with this article!

  2. Avatar Phil Hall says:

    This is my standard reply to any rejection, ready, because it's awesome:

    " "

    That's right, I don't reply. I figure, the agent doesn't need to hear from me, and might be worried I'll freak out. (I don't, but they don't know that.) So I just move on to the next agent. I suppose, I could send a nice "Thanks for looking anyway" email, but even that sounds…I don't know…weird or almost stalker-ish to me.

    Best leave them alone.

  3. Avatar Sara says:

    I can't imagine writing a nastygram to an agent who rejected my query or even a partial or full. The best rejections have a nugget of something to help me write a better query – "I wasn't really into the story" or "I didn't connect with the description." That's gold! *Shaking my cane* Kids these days got no manners.

  4. I'd rather have a rejection reply than just assume a rejection because I've never heard back.

  5. Rejections are part of the process – proof we are in the game. When people throw two-year old temper tantrums, there's no room for growth. It's too bad they have to leave a trail of muck along their way.

  6. Agree with Debra. *waves at Debra*

    Anyone in this business should know by the querying point that it is brutal and hard to break into. There are many many many rejections before that golden ticket arrives. Nastiness only insures the ticket will never grace your door.

  7. Avatar Robena Grant says:

    Totally agree! No response to a rejection, ever. Besides, you don't want to burn bridges.

  8. Still looking forward to my first rejection, myself. Back in the days when I did sales for a (lackluster) living, we looked at every rejection as another step that needed to be taken toward the yes. And never, EVER, be nasty to someone who took the time to look at what you were trying to sell, evaluate it, and let you know that it wasn't what they were looking for (and maybe even, and most importantly, why). Unfortunately, it doesn't take a professional to write a book.

    Still not sure, and hoping Jessica can help us out with a response, what the best way is to respond. I feel kinda like Phil describes above, that a "Thank you for rejecting me" response too easily comes across as snarky even when it's not intended so. Is stoic silence the best response to a rejection, from the agent's point of view?

  9. Avatar Kelley says:

    Amen sister!

    No one wants to work or associate themselves with rude people.

    Just because the work isn't your taste, doesn't mean it should be taken personally.

  10. I'm astonished that anyone would send an agent a 'nasty'. It's just so bad mannered and unnecessary. And if they want to query again, for something different maybe, they'll be remembered for the wrong reasons.
    The words 'grow up' spring to mind!

  11. >And trust me, we don't like working with smug or nasty people.

    Does anyone? Seriously, most of us encounter enough of those in life (on the train, at the store, at the dog park, wherever…) that it amazes me people don't at least *attempt* civility. Even if it's in their nature to be a jerk, why doesn't simple self-interest prevent them from being nasty when their career hangs in the balance?

  12. I was Managing Editor for Fiction at an international literary magazine, and that means after sending out rejections, I was insulted in many different languages.

    Some of these rude folks had the nerve to continue to submit to us even after they spewed their venom at me for rejecting their earlier work. These writers with bad manners are in the minority, from my experience.

    The magazine's website is public, they ask for submissions, and that means anyone can show up in their inbox. My dear, departed dad used to say: "The problem with the general public is, it includes everybody." Was he ever right.

  13. Avatar Laila Knight says:

    You've had similar thoughs for the day the last two Fridays. I had no idea people were so rude after receiving a rejection. You guys are just doing your job. Have a good weekend. 🙂

  14. I can't understand why people get like that.

  15. Avatar Kate Douglas says:

    Back in the days of snail mail only, when I was submitting and being rejected (for twenty years, and no, that is NOT an exaggeration) the only response I gave to a rejection was a thank you note to the editor or agent for taking the time to look over my submission. Funny thing, years later with my books doing well, I have gotten to know a lot of those same editors, and I've also learned what an incestuous business this can be, which makes me doubly glad that, no matter how frustrated I became over the scads of rejections, I always took the high road.

    Stupid words WILL come back to haunt you.

  16. Avatar DittyMac says:

    Still can't understand why someone would reply to a rejection. They must think they will make you change your mind. Or maybe they just need to vent. How often does this occur percentage wise?

  17. Why would anybody send a rude reply? First off, it's mean. The rejection wasn't personal. Second, it's stupid to burn bridges.

  18. Avatar Steph Damore says:

    Kate–that goes double for stupid words posted on the Internet 🙂

    I also think you're not the brightest to go burning bridges. So an agent passes on you once, what's to say they will next time? Because if you really want to be in this business, there's always a next time.

  19. lol I love it. It reminds me of kids who try to play their parents against each other.

  20. Avatar wry wryter says:

    Ms. Trite says: When one path is blocked, well-traveled or otherwise, cut your own. Wield wisely your machete, it is sharp.

    I realized something today and because of that I am living by a new rule. DO NOT type fast and hit ‘publish’ just before you head out the door to look for apartments with your kid. It was 105 degrees.
    Expressing heartfelt thoughts with errors is embarrassing.

  21. To Sharla: *Waves back!* (((hugs)))

  22. Avatar Caleb says:

    Are we expected to reply to a rejection? Like for instance, you give my query to somebody else, would you also forward a cordial response to a rejection? And if you do, does that help more than no response to a rejection? Furthermore, do agents tend to send form rejections or do you put thought into them? I never know you are telling me the same thing as the person who has no business writing or if I should actually take to heart what the letter is saying.

  23. Avatar Shain Brown says:

    Some, have the inability to use rational thought before taking action.

  24. Avatar ryan field says:

    "Stupid words WILL come back to haunt you."

    Kate's 100% correct. You never know when or where you'll run into someone in publishing.

  25. Avatar Trisha says:

    I honestly have no idea HOW anyone could be silly enough to reply to a rejection in any of those fashions. It's just not going to help them in the long run, and doesn't say good things about who they are as a person!

  26. Avatar Anonymous says:

    I got a rejection once for an agent. I was in a great mood so I wrote back. It was the worst query letter I could have possibly written. Made me feel better plus it made her laugh. I don't recommend my approach, but why be mean to strangers when its better to put a smile on their face!

  27. I guess the problem is that people forget it is a business. Not about your feelings or worth as a writer, that God told you to write it, or that you need this published because you need to achieve something in life before you die.

    No one is going to buy a book whose promotion tagline is "buy this book because the author is nice."

    So an agent gets a submission and goes "Feh. Not for me." That's life. Sometimes it's because the query is bad, or the book is bad, or even the agent doesn't like the name of your book. (I could tell you the story of a friend's book whose title was GINORMOUSLY funny in the wrong way, especially for the genre. Book did not get picked up. Go figure.)

    Deal with it. Accept the feedback (if you get it) and move on.

    And as far as I can tell, unless the agent asks for follow-up, move on.

  28. Who has the time to respond to rejections, anyway? If you're sending a lot of stuff out, you're getting a lot of rejections. That's just the business. Every word typed in response to a rejection is a word NOT typed in something productive, like another chapter, another story. Any intelligent person would pause at doing any kind of business with someone dumb enough to burn a bridge and PUT IT IN WRITING, as well as someone unproductive enough to waste time and words.