2.28.2007

Sealed with a...oops

Miss Snark,
Forgive me if this has been mentioned before, but I am currently on a writers' loop where several members have mentioned receiving their SASEs from an agent(s) with their rejection written ON the envelope: "Not right for us." That's it. Nothing INSIDE the envelope.

How tacky is that and how much more time would it have taken to print out a form rejection, stick it in the envelope and retain their reputation? Is this a common practice?


I hope not, but in all fairness, you have no idea if the envelope arrived sealed. You think that sounds stupid? I get at least one a week that is already sealed cause it got wet in transit.

This falls into the category of laugh and move on.
There are a lot of agents in the world. Query widely.

15 comments:

Kim said...

Way back when, one of my first rejections came in the form of Sharpie marker chicken scratch on a coffee-stained Post-It note. I should've kept it, but it was really kind of gross.

ORION said...

Be grateful.
The agent could have sent a guy with a hammer over to your house and had him pound you on the head with it yelling, "NO! NO! NO!"

I think "Not for us." on an SASE is far kinder, don't you?

Anonymous said...

Because of the humidity where I live, I often use large resealable (gallon size) bags to keep the manuscript dry when it's requested. It also keeps the SASE from getting stuck. I reasoned that it could provide the agent with a simple way of keeping the pages from getting scattered so there's a chance it might even be welcomed in place of rubber bands and large paper clips.

Of course, this came about after receiving some submissions returned from the post office in which the package had been mauled or drenched and then having to reprint the manuscript out and remail it. --DaveK

Anonymous said...

No no, Miss Snark. The incident is not isolated. Many of us got that same 'response' this past week, on (in my case) a simple query letter that had been out over 10 months. The surprise? This is no fly by night agent, but one who might otherwise be considered hot stuff in NY.

Anonymous said...

This gives me a great idea -- a line pre-inked stamps that say things like this:

THANKS BUT NO THANKS
SUB AGAIN AFTER YOU LEARN TO TYPE
MASTERFUL BUT NOT QUITE BRILLIANT
MY BOSS SAID TO ASK WTF?
TOO GRUESOME FOR MOI, TRY _______
THAT AGENT IS DEAD
GOOD EFFORT BUT NEEDS WORK
SORRY THE FBI BLEW UP YOUR PACKAGE, PLEASE RESUBMIT

Anonymous said...

You mean you still use the envelopes that require licking? Ugh. Pry open your wallet and use the self-adhesive envelopes. The agent just pulls the strip and presses it closed.

River Falls said...

One of my early rejections was a ink-stamped message on my query letter: "I'm sorry I cannot help you."

It's funny, NOW, several published books later...

Ellen said...

I don't understand the nit-picking over the how of a "no." It's NO. No matter how it was sent or said. Why waste your energy interpolating a blip on your screen? So what? Move on to the next name on the list, or better still, the next five names.

Chumplet said...

I received one of those empty envelopes, too. We chatted about it on another forum. The excuse that humidity sealed it shut doesn't hold water because my envelope required that the strip be removed before self sealing.

These SASEs seemed to arrive at our homes in a bunch - all within a week or so.

We just thought it was rather strange, and a bit unprofessional. I mean, how cheap is that?

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...Is it the same agent or agency, and, if so, could there be a new assistant with a poor work ethic? Just wondering...

Christine said...

This is why you invest in a box of self sealing envelopes. Use the lickie ones to send query, save the self sealers for the SASE.

Don't hafta worry 'bout dat no mo.

Bryan D. Catherman said...

Hold on to that SASE. File it away somewhere and forget it. Then, after you've published four or five books (an one of them has become a movie) frame that envelope. It might just make a nice talking point to hang in your big shot office.

Anonymous said...

I can beat that one all to hell. I got a rejection written on the outside of my QUERY LETTER ENVELOPE (not the SASE). The query letter was returned unopened, marked "Refused" and not just refused but "Refused in the Mail Room." Apparently some woman wrote that on there in nail polish. It seemed to me they could at least have marked it "Refused by the Editorial Department" but, no, they were more honest than that. This rejection came from a publisher, not an agent, and, yes, they did accept unagented queries. That was before agents became the power besotted gatekeepers of the scribbling world.

I got the impression I should not query them again. I don't know where I got that impression. I must be psychic.

Incidentally, it did not bother me a bit. That was 1993 and I am amazed at all the thin-skinned unpublished wannabes who comment to this blog.

BuffySquirrel said...

Someone I vaguely know got themselves kicked off a messageboard I used to frequent because they made a disproportionate fuss over a rejection that was, yes, a rubber stamp on their query letter. What they forgot was that this agent represented the board owner.

Anonymous said...

Just thinking aloud here, but since so many people with unpublished manuscripts are really angry at agents for not giving them accurate, incisive (or any) feedback about what might be wrong with their manuscripts (and thus have to depend on unreliable "beta" readers), I'm wondering why some enterprising and legitimate ex-editor doesn't go into business offering for a fee of $100 or $500 or whatever the market will bear, an honest, professional opinion about the commercial viability and potential of the work in question. No line editing, no story editing, just the kind of comments writers wish agents would give them for free.
This wouldn't be the same as going to an editor to rewrite your book, or paying a crooked agent's "staff" to lead you on. In an ideal world, it would perform the kind of screening function agents perform for publishers, thus freeing agents to read a higher class of slush.
Of course, once the fee-charging editor/readers got inundated with the kinds of things agents are used to seeing, they too might start resorting to formulaic responses before dropping out of the business to become something more honorable, like used car salesmen...
Just thinking aloud is all....