No Vacancy

I was wondering, if an agency says "I'm sorry, but we're not taking on any new clients at this time?" Does it actually mean that, or are they trying to keep from commenting on my query?

Oh, and this company kept my query letter, does that mean anything? I've sent, snail-mail, six query letters. Three have come back, two with the original letters. That's the only reason I ask.

Could it mean...possibly...their list is full? Heaven forefend we would actually tell you that.

Assuming it might be code for "you suck" herewith the Snarketta Stone:

"I'm not taking new clients" means you didn't wow me enough to make me want to endure the pain of more work. It also means your work doesn't suck so much that it's "not quite right for ME, but do query those bozettes down the street".

No, it doesn't mean anything if your actual letter doesn't come back. Well, it means that they threw it away, but don't attach significance to it. I send letters back too, but not on your actual query letter. Not that I haven't considered that--running it through the printer on the reverse side-- but it seemed churlish even for a Certified Snarkster such as I.


Anonymous said...

I got a reply scrawled on my own letter and in the envelope I provided. It said, (and I quote here) "no thanks."

No signature or anything else. Can you run that through your Snarketta Stone for me?

Anonymous said...

Dear Miss Snark

Can you post some more of the infinite wisdom of the Snarketta Stone? In my naivete I had imagined that 'Dear Sir or Madam, Thanks, but not right for me', 'Dear Sir or Madam, Thanks but we are not taking on new clients at present', and 'Dear Sir or Madam, Thanks but we feel we could not represent your work with the passion it deserves' all meant much the same thing, i.e. 'No', with no information as to the reason.
Is there a secret code and these actually have hidden meanings, e.g. 'This is drivel', 'This is fine but not to my taste', or 'I haven't read this because I'm already up to my eyes in work and don't need any more'. And if so, which means which?
Please, O Snarkalicious One, enlighten us!
James M

Dhewco said...

Um, the reason I asked was that, up to that point, most of the snail mail rejections came back to me with both a separate letter and my original.

Since my question, I've received a slew of rejections without the original question. So, I realize now how silly my question was.

So, it's slightly more positive than the common "Thanks, but it's not right for us"?

Oh, I'd checked www.agentquery.com before I mailed the query. That's why I thought it might be something besides what it was on face value.

Thanks for your reply,


Anonymous said...

As a side note, I've received several query responses scribbled on my actual query. One was so badly scrawled I couldn't figure out for a while which one rejected me. Another was a rejection, with a personal comment and an invitation to send other work sometime. A few have been requests for pages, including the note from my eventual agent. And of course, some just "not for us". One was a very snarky rejection, in fact.

But the fact they were scribbled on my query didn't bother me.

ssas said...

I'd suggest that we not read too much into what is said, and especially what is NOT said. I've waited months, positive the silence meant rejection, and got accepted instead. I've also gotten notes with constructive criticism, which gave me some hope for interest--except they were just being kind in their rejection. It stung just as bad as my latest:

"Thanks, but we're not interested."

We all say much the same thing in different ways, right? Otherwise there'd be no reason to write more books.

Rick said...

Hasn't Miss Snark said previously that we'll just explode our brains trying to read Secret Codes into rejections?

"Sorry, not taking new clients" likely means just what it says - they never looked at your query.

"Sorry, not for us" means they didn't take the bait; nothing more, nothing less.

"Sorry, but try us with another project" probably means they liked something - not enough to bite, but they gave it a second glance. (I'm not sure of this one; it might just be excessively polite.)

"Sorry" followed by a 5-page critique means you should give the advice serious consideration. But don't re-submit unless they ask.

"Sorry" followed by a 5-page critique and an invitation to re-sub should be given really serious consideration - and don't re-submit unless you've followed the advice.

Rick said...

Miss Snark - having already given my $0.02 worth, now a question:

What sort of rejection notes do you get (and agents in general)? Are they typically just the same "not for us" that writers get? Do editors often/ever ask for a second look after changes? Give suggestions about what their list is looking for, apart from that particular ms? Or is that something you get in the general buzz of talking to editors?