You don't want me now? Well, ok..thank you?

Dear Miss Snark,

I received a rejection with a very nice hand written note saying to consider this agent again in the future. What is the etiquette for such a compliment (besides, of course, contacting the agent with my next project)? Is a thank you note in order?

Thanks and the blog rocks.

Yes, that would be very nice. I'm much more likely to remember you after gracious, sincere thank you note than I am from "you told me to query on the next project."

Sincere is the hard part.

Here are the bones of a nice note I got this week:

Dear Miss Snark

Thank you for considering my partial (title).

I am sorry it wasn't right for your list.

Your time and effort are much appreciated.

Your comments provided very helpful guidance I will use in my further efforts.

Rejected but not snotty about it

You see the structure, right? Follow it.
No groveling. No whining, no bribes (unless of course Mr. Clooney hand delivers the letter).


scharrison said...

In the follow-up "thank you for the kind rejection" note, is it a good idea to include at least a small amount of conflict, to let the agent know you're a diligent and perpetually productive writer?

"Thank you so much for taking the time to point out the shortcomings in my manuscript. Evading capture by the authorities leaves me little time for an objective proofing."

s.w. vaughn said...

This is OT, but congrats on the P&E award, Miss Snark! You most certainly deserve it. Thank dog there are still some selfless people in publishing who actually want writers to succeed.

Anonymous said...

I've done this several times after very nice rejctions, and the result has been (over email) an immediate response from the editor/agent saying, "No problem at all" and a very fast response to the next query letter.

In at least one case I know I will probably never have contact with that editor again, but she took such huge gobs of time on that manuscript, it didn't seem right not to thank her.

Jillian said...

Here's a small question, Miss Snark, in case you still have time to peruse the comment boxes:

Just today I received a letter from an agency that I didn't even remember querying -- most likely because this was from way back in August of last year! The note was not a standard rejection, but more like an apology for taking so long to reply and an explanation that the agent was no longer accepting submissions because of a lack of sufficient time to devote to new clients. He also expressed a hope that, in the months that had lapsed, I was able to find representation.

In this situation, wouldn't sending a thank-you note add to his obviously bulging list of mail? In "real life" I would acknowledge his politeness with a note of my own...but I'm not sure it would be appropriate in this instance.

As an agent, how do you feel about this?

Anonymous said...

I received that very same rejection letter today! GN is obviously a very nice man but he's also obviously clearing out the slush pile with a form letter. I wouldn't add to his mail with a thanks.

Jillian said...

Thank you, anon, that was my impression as well. Better late than never! He has now been removed from my "Rude, Non-replying Agents" list. ;)