5.08.2006

Auto-pitches on rejection letters

This, from the comments tail on an earlier post, says it best:

Rejection's hard enough to take without being then "pitched" to BUY something from the person who just declined to buy anything from you.


I think I'll reverse my position and say this to my colleagues: leave off the advertising on rejection letters and emails.

And now, back to my regularly scheduled snake oil sales.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

This happens in the UK too; there's a very well-known and successful agent here who some years ago wrote a very well-known and successful book about how to pitch a book and get it published. Apparently that agency's rejection letters now include a 'special offer' of the book at a price which is rather higher than it is on Amazon.co.uk.

However good the book (and lots of people think it is, though I've been pretty unimpressed by what I've had quoted to me) I think that stinks.

Anonymous said...

Larsen-Pomada does this. They include an advertisement for their book and convention/appearances with their rejection letter.

Boy, I'm just drooling to send them some cash!

BuffySquirrel said...

I'm wondering what the chances are of cashing in on Miss Snark's good mood and persuading her that she really wants to rep SF&F. Whole new genres just waiting to be snarked! And wouldn't KY look snazzy in a shiny silver spacesuit?

otto said...

Similar to this is the out-of-the-blue invitations to subscribe to lit journals shortly after I've sent in a submission, but long before I've received any reply.

susan @ spinning

Killer Yapp said...

::::chases Buffy Squirrel up a tree and barks at her till she regains her senses::::

Rei said...

According to my research (I'm building up an SF/F agent spreadsheet right now... oy, this is slow going :P ), Peter Rubie pitches, as does Richard Curtis (Steven King's agent, if I remember correctly).

I never thought about it before I started working on it, but researching agents is a complete pain. So you want a hundred agents to pitch to? Given the amount that you'll run into that come up as scammers and the amount that aren't accepting queries in your field, a focused search of about 150 agents is the right amount.

Sure, you could just pick out twenty agents and send out to the good ones among them, then look for more agents as you send out your second tier, but then you may be sending in a non-preferable order. It's best to get a complete list, then break it into tiers.

For each of the agents, you need to check AAR, sites where people discuss their opinions of different agents (like Writer's Net), Preditors and Editors, Everyone Who's Anyone, the agency's website, get their sales, estimate how *big* their sales are, get any specific notes that might influence your decision, get the phone, fax, email, address, and submission guidelines for both e-queries and snail queries, and lastly assign them a tier. This, for 150 agents. :P I've probably spent 20 hours on it so far and I'm only half done.

Cynthia Bronco said...

My very first rejection was one of those. It made me think the agent was more concerned with moving his stuff along than that of his clients.

BuffySquirrel said...

Sqrls live in trees, yer daft poodle.

Harry Connolly said...

This doesn't bother me. If I was one of their clients, I'd be glad they took the trouble to help promote my books.

Anonymous said...

Even better when you fail to win a fellowship from a not-for-profit, like the Fine Arts Work Center at Provincetown (which you're trying for because you're young & poor, and are hoping for some assistance while working on your manuscript), and the organization then turns around and begs you for money to keep their program going.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Don't misunderstand. I love Miss Snark and Killer Yap. But, agents give me headaches. That is especially true of "Well-Known Agent" and his minions. When they finally decide to return your SASE (IF they return it. I WANT MY STAMP BACK!!), you'll get an add and an insult. Gratis.

They can keep both.

bookfraud said...

adding to otto's observation about literary journals, how about when they send you a subscription invite with the form rejection note.

not to put too fine a point on it, but the rejection note does not put me in the mood to subscribe, and i would be interested in reading the business case study that theorizes that the best time to pitch a product is when the customer is murderously angry at you.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Oh, and yes! Miss Snark should rep Fantasy. Then I'd have been rejected by the best. Dang it! I hate being rejected by the second-string.

Why be rejected by the American Little League when you could be rejected by the majors?

Okay, more seriously ... I can't write a query letter that isn't terminally boring. I know it. I STILL want Snarkie to rep Fantasy.

Of course, I'd never know if that "not right for me" letter came from Snarkie or not.

Matt D. said...

I get this with magazines a lot. A whole lot. It doesn't really bother me so much.

Maria said...

Okay--for all those that commented that the "Pitches in rejection letter" don't bother you and he who said something about "If I were a client I'd be glad they were trying to sell my books"-- Does the advertising work?

Would you, do you, will you buy the actual products they are pitching included in the rejection letter?

As for me, the answer is a big fat No.

Anonymous said...

I haven't exactly received a rejection like that, but I *did* get one from an agent who suggested books on writing. I do believe she was telling me that I suck the big one. Nice. I'm hoping for a packet of salt in my next rejection letter!

Mark said...

I've never had that happen.

Ric said...

Stephen King's agent is named Kim MacCauley, I do believe.

Ralph Vincenca is his foreign rights agent.

though if you google it, you will get a huge number of agents linking themselves to King's success.

mkcbunny said...

Knowing that it was standard practice, I wouldn't be upset by it, or take it personally. But I do think it's tacky.

Elektra said...

Shae'el, I have the exact same problem. Been to every writers' board online to cure it, but I'm still getting back form letter after form letter--I just calculated it, and I've gotten a less than 1% requests for patials. sigh...

Dave Kuzminski said...

Asbestos-lined armor on? Check.

P&E doesn't hold it against agents for including sales material in responses. Yes, it's tacky, but it has a good side to it. It gives those agents an incentive to respond to all of their queries, hopefully in a more timely fashion than other agents. Yes, they're picking a bad market to sell to since most of the writers will be rejected, but that's a chance they take knowing that one percent might actually purchase what they're offering.

Based on those odds, I suppose most of them can live with the few sales those generate and how those writers feel. After all, those writers are already going to dislike them for having their work rejected.

Anonymous said...

How about when you spend the time, money and effort to go to a conference and meet editors and agents and send them proposals, and THEY REJECT YOU NOT WITH THEIR FORM LETTER, BUT AN UNDERLING'S FORM LETTER, MR. SO-AND-SO ASKED ME TO REJECT YOU! (Not shouting, no italics here.)

Sheesh! Once we've met face to face, after all that, couldn't we get a personal form letter?

giggles said...

Well now, I am going to take a different stand point on this. Most writers, and agents know this, skim through writer's market, Preditors and Editors, or some other agent directory, looking for the subject matter in which they represent. But all books don't conform into those catergories, so what they are saying in offering you the books that they do represent, is "hey, before you send me something next time, read something I am likely to represent." Saves the author and the agent duress in the future.

Now, I could be completely wrong about that, not being an agent, but that seems to be the logical path -- at least from my POV.

Admittingly, I have never received one of these "advertisements" with a rejection, but I wouldn't take offense to it either. This world is about making money, and every writer is a reader, so...

Chrissie

Corn Dog said...

My SASEs come back in my own handwriting with a form rejection. It has taken so long for my little courier pigeon to return home, I stare at the SASE thinking someone has immolated my handwriting. (OK, maybe I'm just a toot senile.) I'm so miffed at the possible identity theft, I barely glance at the "not right for me or anyone else in this universe" rejection letter enclosed - adds or not. The last one that came back, I had NO recall of having sent them anything. I was grateful they sent the manuscript back to remind me what the heck was going on. I recycled the whole mess (manuscript included) in the big can by the side of my house. Never even sullied the interior of my home.

Anonymous said...

Hey Elektra,
This sounds like a job for Evil Editor.

Anonymous said...

Check out the Evil Editor contest.

Writers' Block said...

'immolated' handwriting? yikes! motorboating, please click here immediately!

Corn Dog said...

LOL...thanks Mahican. I am vision impaired and I type all my comments in Word with a large font before I cut and paste them into these comment blocks. Word likes to spell check, and I usually just click "ok" "ok" "ok". Guess I need be more careful next time. My spelling is so atrocious, Word does the best it can.

Anonymous said...

I noticed somewhere in this lot of comments that someone said Peter Rubie pitches in his rejection letters. Well, from experience I happen to know that he does it in his acceptance letters as well, so I'm guessing it's nothing personal. :)

Anonymous said...

I need to get in touch with Stephen King's Agent as I need to ask permission to do a low budget movie on one of his short storys. Can someone help me please?