3.21.2006

Once, Twice, Three times a rejection

Dear Miss Snark,

I wonder if you can help me interpret some puzzling agent behavior. I queried someone at a large agency and got a request for a partial signed by someone else. I sent it, and a month later, I got a form rejection letter signed with the firm's name rather than that of the agent I sent to or the person requesting the partial. Two months after that, I got the same letter, again signed with the agency's name. Three months later, I got the same message by email.

What are they doing, other than letting me know I should never darken their doorstep again?


Well, actually they aren't saying that at all. What they're saying is they've got turnover like you wouldn't believe among the interns and assistants reading the slush pile and none of them are keeping good notes.

We've all done this. It's the flip side of not answering query letters. For your three rejections there are two other people who haven't heard at all. Often it's only a data base error, and less often thank all dogs, it's a system crash that wipes out a week of work.

Just today I had an editor send me a rejection letter for a book she read but instead of writing the author's name, she wrote the protaganist's name. Does that put her on the nitwit list? No.

Query on!

15 comments:

preemptive reject said...

If it makes you feel any better, I once got a rejection from an agent I had never sent anything to nor had I even heard of (nor had I submitted to or heard of the agency). The letter was addressed to me by name and mentioned the name of my book, but was a form other than that. I still have no idea what happened, but it makes me laugh to think my book was so bad that an agent was afraid of seeing it and took pre-emptive action. In hindsight, the book was that bad, but it was much more likely a clerical error on my part or hers.

pennyoz said...

If they can't keep their staff happy, how can they keep their authors happy. I think I'd be glad of rejection and move to happier hunting grounds.

Carmen said...

That means at least she read it before she rejected it, right?

Jenna Black said...

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who's gotten a rejection addressed to her character. It only happened once, but I had a good laugh over it. It was a really nice personalized rejection. Luckily, since it was addressed to my character, I didn't have to feel crestfallen myself.

Harry Connolly said...

Are the interns and assistants double-tasking on sending the rejections, or reviewing the manuscripts?

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

I got three email and one form letter rejection all in the same week from the same agency. I just figured what I wrote was so awful they wanted to make sure I got the point!

I emailed them and politely mentioned the three emails, two of which came in the same day. I got a very nicely worded apology back. It was funny, even if they were sending me a firm rejection.

Receiving more than one answer is better than never hearing back. What did Mr. Big-Name-Agent-Who-Writes-Books do with my stamp? Soak it off and reuse it? I want my blinkin' stamp back!

Kendall said...

preemptive reject - That's kinda creepy; who was this agent and how'd she get your book? (shudder) An agent of the Twilight Zone?!

Miss Snark & Jenna Black - I'm glad I wasn't drinking gin when I read your parallel tales; I'd've choked on it! I wonder how one could spin this -- "Well, she rejected my character, but I guess she loved me...." ;-)

ann said...

As for those stamps, sometimes even canceled ones can be donated to charity. Our "church ladies" do this. They trim them, sort them, save them up and sell them by the pound to a collector.Then they use the stamp-sale money for projects -- food pantries and so on. Just thought you-all would like to know ...

Puzzled but Persevering said...

Here's another weird tale. I queried Agent A at Hot Agency, where Agent B also works. I got a request for a partial from Agent A, followed a few weeks later by a form rejection from the agency's slush reader (and their policy is--any rejection is a rejection from the entire agency), followed three weeks later by a request for a full by Agent B.

Needless to say, I decided to ignore the rejection and send the full.

Lizzy said...

Kendall,

You are traveling through another dimension--a dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. You have entered the Snarkling Zone.

Anonymous said...

Selling used stamps by the pound? I wonder how many stamps it takes to make a pound? Can you say T-E-D-I-O-U-S? Not knocking the intent, but seems like there's more efficient ways to raise money, even for little ol' church ladies.

Poohba said...

Cancelled stamps can also be used to make art a la my seventh grade English teacher who had us make a picture of "Ponyboy" from "The Outsiders" using only cut-up stamps.

Seriously, haven't the church ladies ever heard of cutting up old greeting cards and making them in to placemats and small(er) notecards to sell?

kathie said...

Poohba,
you've got to be kidding. That's the funniest thing I've heard this week. And I need a damn laugh. Thanks

Trix said...

I've never had a rejection addressed to my character, but just last week, I got a good review on a story ... but the reviewer credited the story to the illustrator instead of me.

bonniers said...

I sent a query to Agent A at Hotshot Agency and rather quickly received a rejection from Agent B at Hotshot Agency, saying she doesn't represent my genre. I know she doesn't represent my genre. That's why I sent it to Agent A, who does. Envelope and letter were both addressed to him.

I'm a generous person; I figure that whoever opened the mail must have just put it in the wrong pile and Agent B was busy and didn't notice that it wasn't addressed to her. But still.

My verification word is "ibugtxr," which sounds to me like the name of a mysterious alien offering to sell dirty postcoards under the airlocks at Mars Spaceport...