1.21.2006

ok, I do NOT get this

I'm rooting around in my mail today and open an envelope addressed to the agency.
In it is a form rejection letter I sent to someone about two weeks ago.
No note.
No comment.
No twenty dollar bill.

Not even a picture of Mr. Clooney.

I've gotten these "rejection returns" a couple of other times. What's up with this?
You think I'll realize I've made a horrible mistake?
You think I didn't mean to send it the first time?
You think Killer Yapp was doing the mail and I didn't actually read it your query?

Any and all insight into this very odd occurrence is appreciated.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a jerky writer you wouldn't want to work with anyway - the type who says, "Neener, neener! See how *YOU* like getting rejection letters, you snobby literary agent, you! I refute your rejection letter THUS!"

Okay, so I don't really know why it happens, but that's what I would guess.

Anonymous said...

Okay folks - I'd just like to point out that Agent Snark is not only blogging on the weekend, she's working. As if any of us ever doubted her committment.

the green ray said...

I think it's possibly a symbolic way for a writer to "reject the rejection." In other words, "I don't accept this, so I'm sending it back to you." Could you tell who they were from?

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Ok, so help me understand this. I'm supposed to save up all my rejection letters, and when I'm rich and famous and all of my books sell a bazillion copies. . .I get to send them all back to the editors and agents who sent them? But only then, right?

Some people are clueless. Or maybe they just thought you put someone else's rejection letter in their envelope? Or maybe they're recyclers. They think you can reuse it.

Bernita said...

Interesting psychology here.As if you are expected to intrepret the "code."
Can you relate them to the type of manuscript, possibly something excessively revelatory and psychotic?
Because it does not make sense.Unless they meant to send you another query and just got their letters mixed up.

Jarsto said...

I'd guess it's either supposed to reject the rejection or supposed to be an arcane mechanism to trigger a do over of some sort. Maybe someone is dispensing advice in the vein of "If you send back the rejection they'll take another look because it proves you're determined."

It would be bad advice but having seen someone pushing "lie a little in your query" as advice (I read about it both in the Snarkives and earlier at Making Light) it wouldn't surprise me if someone was giving it.

Emjay said...

I sent a Christmas card to a 'friend.' Apparently, she was miffed at me.

She returned it -- torn to pieces.

If the rejection letter didn't have obscenities all over it, or one of those circles with a line through it,

maybe it was just hurt feelings, or a back atcha.

O hAnnrachainn said...

Sounds like a senior moment - print out the query letter, print out an envelope, print out the SASE except you space out and reprint the agent's address on the reply envelope.

Those of us who do our writing and querying late at night have nightmares about pulling a bone-headed move like that.

Miss Snark said...

I can indeed tell who they are from.
They never send pages back, just the letter.
Of course by this time at least a week has passed so I have zero clue what the pages were about.

Of course I'm working on the weekend. It's the only time the stairwells are clear enough to throw all the query letters down and see who lands on the third riser and is thus the one I'll read.

You didn't actually think we chose books any other way did you?

harridan said...

Again I'm struck almost speechless.

"Neener, neener, neener. I will send this rejection back to the sender to show my contempt."

Yo! Ever heard the term "don't burn bridges"?

Anyone who still believes that agents, editors, authors, and aspiring writers don't form a tight network in a seemingly large industry, raise your hand.

If you raised your hand, you have homework to do.

E.A.P. said...

Third riser?

Damn you, Snark. I'd scientifically weighted and aerodynamically configured my submission to land on the second riser... as advised by a submission consultant who charged me $500 for the "inside info." I met her at the South Maui Conceited Writers Conclave last Winter. She seemed so credible.

I can only assume you have once again changed the rules in the middle of the game.

e.a.p. said...

Further...

I am so angry that I have now forswown gin - such a common distillation, after all.

I will from this day forward fill my pail with a nobler intoxicant.

After all...

Absinthe makes the heart go fondle.

Pixel Faerie said...

Maybe they wanted to test the mail system. Acceptance letters travel slower than rejection letters type of thing.

If it was a way to be snotty, at least it cost them a stamp to send it. Who's at a loss there? Will Miss Snark let Killer Yapp use it as bedding?

Bernita said...

But malmsey makes you qualmsy...

lisa e said...

Writers never get over anything. Joan Didion still has -- framed -- her rejection letter from Stanford. You'd think best-sellers and National Book Awards would ease the pain of not taking Freshman Comp in Palo Alto, but no.

Shesawriter said...

I'm not a mind reader, but the writer (probably) got just what he/she wanted. To have you sitting there, scratching your head and wondering. (g) Whatever the case, that's somebody I'd definitely NOT want to work with anyway.

And Lisa is right. Writers never *fully* get over being dissed (whether the diss is real or something we cook up in our imagination). It's sad, but true.

Tanya

Allie said...

Makes no sense to me. Rejection letters are a rite of passage. I intend to frame every one of mine.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

All of my rejections (there haven't been that many because I know my book still needs work and I've stopped sending queries while I rewrite)have been without comment except for two.

Of these two, one was rude and unhelpful. The other was rude and helpful. I listened.

Oh, then there is the critique from hell. . . .I'm still laughing at that one. Two sample comments:

1. "I'm glad that I read this and not saw this in a movie. Otherwise I probably would have puked in the site of blood."

2. "Off course I ignor what he'd say too."

Agents and editors who take time to comment are special, even if they are rude.

Now, I'm faced with an invitation to requery. I'm NOT ready! Ok, so I'm working my butt off trying to make this presentable by the end of next week. . . . It's that dang first chapter!!! I'll never write a first chapter again! ever. . . Well maybe I will.

I think I lost sight of what I was posting here. My point was supposed to be that it's ok to be disappointed, even frustrated. It's not ok to intentionally hurt anyone. If you're going to hurt an agent, ummm, do it accidently!

Ok so I'm incoherent... It's time for my pills and some hot chocolate!

Rick said...

As boring as it is, I think O hAnnrachainn's "senior moment" theory is the most likely - the person simply misaddressed the SASE, so the reject notice came back to you.

And the hapless author is out there somewhere thinking "I haven't heard back yet ... does that mean she's giving it serious consideration?"

Ric said...

All very confusing. I thought that was standard practice. Get a rejection, put in an envelope and mail it back. Duh!

Doesn't everyone do this?

Anonymous said...

Well, Miss Snark, I do think it sounds pretty dumb. But no more dumb than an agent who sends three rejection letters for one submission. This has happened with two different agents. I don't know what their major damage is, but the rejection process, as I understood it, was (1) aspiring author sends requested partial. (2) agent reads and decides to pass (3) agent sends form letter. However, with some agents, apparently steps 4 and 5 are send form letter, send form letter.
To me, this seems just as much of a mind game/and or mental malfunction as returning a rejection letter.

Anonymous said...

BWAH! So they're out the cost of a stamp to reject the rejection. Any any sensible person would just recyle the paper.

I got my share and they hurt at the time, but I did what other writers older and wiser than myself said to do--dump 'em in File 13 and get back to writing. There's no point keeping a reminder of a past failure around when there's work to do.

I once rejected the rejection and told the editor to go suck a tailpipe--however, I did NOT mail that suggestion! Sure enough, I got more work from that house down the road. That wouldn't have happened if I'd not been professional about things. Those older, wiser writers had that one right, too!

December Quinn said...

Well, they sure told you, didn't they? (roll eyes)

M. G. Tarquini said...

Here's the big questions...

Did they include an SASE with the returned rejection letter?

Anonymous said...

It was his/her way to get on your blog.

Blog stalkers. The next big thing in unstable creative types.

amateur accountant said...

That was stupid. Rejection letters help to prove to the IRS that you're at least TRYING to make money. How else can you write off all that extra postage?

I would have sent you a copy as an FU.

Livia Llewellyn said...

Oh, I get it: the person is an asshole.

December Quinn said...

But malmsey makes you qualmsy...

Or dead, if you're the Duke of Clarence...

tee-hee.

Simon Haynes said...

Yay, thanks for fixing the font. I can read, I can read!
Regarding the returned rejection, maybe they think it's bad holistic karma to keep negative vibes in their writing space? Or some crap like that.

Renee Luke said...

Sorry, I've got to disagree with the 'senior moment' theory. Don't you think Miss Snark would have noticed sending out a rejection to herself? Even during her snarkiest moments, I'd lile to believe she's smart.

And, I've got to kick down the 'writers never get over it' comment, too. I had two submissions rejected by my agent before she took me on. Looking back, I know exactly why. I still needed to tune my craft, and the manuscripts weren't marketable. I learned from other agent rejections, too, and appreciate the time they took. Don't always like to admit they were right, though.

I think when an author sends back a rejection, they're trying to say, "Take this reject and stick where the sun don't shine." I kind of feel sorry for them. The need to take a second look at their writing. Either it needs work, or it's just not right for Miss Snark.

jnr said...

if the form letter isn't personalized in any way? perhaps the recipient is returning it for recycling.

or they're off their meds.

Jo Bourne said...

Hmmm ...

I think if I were doing this, I'd switch the rejection letters. I'd send Agent A the rejection letter from Agent B. And Agent B the rejection letter from Agent C. It'd be kinda a meme thing.

THAT would mess with their heads.

Dana Y. T. Lin said...

Cool, now Miss Snark can use that form on another rejection. This nitwit is actually saving the agency money! It's all about the bottom line!

Anne said...

here's a simple possible explanation:

they accidentally put your address on the SASE instead of their own.

Nitwits might be waiting by their mailbox, wondering where their rejections are.

Big Han said...

Oh no! Miss Snark uses the stairwell method? We Yapplings marked the last batch of queries so Killer Yapp would pull our person's submission from the pile and MS would be forced to look at it. No, no one piddled on it. We might not be city dogs (and we don't have tams of any color) but we're not crude. We rubbed the envelopes on the cat. Winter static made that little game more fun than usual.

KY, give the mail a sniff, will ya? Otherwise our person will have to start using gin scented paper so MS can sniff it out herself.