9.14.2006

Parsing for fun...well, ok not exactly fun

Dear Miss Snark: I am getting a curious variation on the form rejection theme. Agents are hand writing notes that contain the same sorts of comments you see in form rejections: Sorry, not for me. Thanks for the read, but I'm taking no new clients currently. Nice style, but I didn't feel as strongly as an agent needs to. Some have even written full paragraphs, again repeating what I've seen in form rejections. I have received individualized comments as well, but I'm curious why an agent would take time to hand write responses that would fit into an easy-to-send form rejection?



We're hand writing rejections cause the printer is tied up.
We're hand writing rejections cause we ran out of forms.
We're hand writing rejections cause we're on hold, reading the slush pile and can't find the forms.

We're hand writing them on the train away from the office; on the ferry; on the bus; waiting in airport terminal lounges on our way to Madison Wisconsin.

You can obsess over this if you have cured cancer and solved the problems of the Middle East. Not till then, ok?

No matter what form "no" takes, it's not the answer you're looking for. Parse your sentences, not our replies.

10 comments:

MichaelPH said...

I guess naive hope is all we have sometimes. But a no is a no.

jude calvert-toulmin said...

> You can obsess over this if you have cured cancer and solved the problems of the Middle East. Not till then, ok?

> No matter what form "no" takes, it's not the answer you're looking for. Parse your sentences, not our replies.

HA HA HA! Marvellous :)

Anonymous said...

Case in point: I am a magazine editor and am out of the office as well as out of forms at the moment. I am reading submissions and hand-writing the 'sorry, no.'

Jennifer Chiaverini said...

We're hand writing them on the train away from the office; on the ferry; on the bus; waiting in airport terminal lounges on our way to Madison Wisconsin.

Miss Snark, if you ever do come to Madison, Wisconsin, I'd be delighted to take you out for a gin-soaked lunch. Or beer and brats after the Farmers' Market, if you want the real Madison experience.

Cheesehead hats optional.

Anonymous said...

"..Madison..."
My overloaded brain zeroed in on this...does this mean Miss Snark is going to Bouchercon?
Now I really wish I'd made the deadline and signed up....
drat

The Curmudgeon said...

This is a buzz-kill.

I could have cheerfully remained in a fantasy land where a handwritten "no" was ever so much closer to "yes" than a form letter "no." As though it were an intentional let-you-down-gently "no" instead of a decision arrived at while waiting for the bus....

Lexie Ward said...

I know of one agent who handwrites a little snippet on the query letter itself and then ships it right back. Who knows? She may do it to save paper and ink. That's why I would do it were I an agent.

Now a handwritten note at the bottom of an otherwise generic form letter? That would mean something to me because the agent didn't have to go to the extra time and did so anyway.

kjzhcwy said...

I have it on good authority that these handwritten "form" rejection letters are written by low-wage workers in Bangalore.

Remeber that scene in a "Dirty Harry" movie where Clint chases a bad guy through a room full of ugly, old biddies writing love notes with big, red kiss-marks on them? The love note is written on a chalk board in front of them, and their job is to copy it, lipstick their kissers, and swak the letter off to some poor schmoe who thinks he's getting a love letter from a real hottie.

It's sort of like that.

Lexie Ward said...

I meant to say "extra trouble" in that last post.
I was hungry.

The Unpretentious Writer said...

I just got a form rejection letter from an agent, but she signed it, which I thought was a good professional touch...better than dashed off by the office intern without a signature, IMHO.