Nanny Nanny Poo Poo!

Nobody likes to get rejected. It sucks all around. You never get hardened to it and it stings every time. Nature of the beast, I guess. But this isn’t dating; you can’t take it personally. When I reject, I’m not rejecting the author himself, or even necessarily his work. I’m telling that author that his work is not for me. That doesn’t mean it won’t be perfect for another agent. Most importantly, it doesn’t mean that I will reject the next book that author queries me with.

That being said, the other day I got an email from the author of a book I’d rejected months ago. He said, “I just wanted to let you know that I just got an offer-of-representation from so-and-so who said my book has bestseller potential. Too bad you couldn’t see that.”

While I was surprised by the immaturity the author had shown, I wasn’t otherwise moved at all. The only thing the author accomplished was an automatic rejection from me if he ever wants to query again. He was actually a pretty good writer who I might have taken on with a different book.

Don’t burn your bridges!



Posted on November 28, 2011, in Advice, literary agency, manuscripts, publishing, queries, rejection, slush pile, submissions and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Just be glad you didn’t sign him. He sounds like a royal P in the A.

  2. Rejection always stings. I have not developed thick skin so far, and I don’t think I ever will. Even receiving a critique on my work is tough, but that doesn’t mean I run from it.

    I grow from it, learn from it, and move on.

    I have had other people tell me that when they get an agent to rep them they will scoff at those who rejected them, but my thought was: ‘really?’. Why? What’s the point? It won’t make them kick themselves or curse the moon or fall on their knees screaming ‘what have I done’. Sorry to burst your bubble.

    The way I see it, if I was rejected, it wasn’t meant to be anyway.

  3. Can anyone on earth truly predict a bestseller? Agents may fall in love with a manuscript and believe it will be a total hit only to have it flop. It’s the very reason I don’t pay much attention to movie critics who herald the next blockbuster or trash a decent attempt at entertainment. Likes/dislikes are way too subjective in the publishing biz. Let’s hope that if this guy sells a book, he doesn’t treat his readers like he treated you. It’s a privilege to have ANY agent read my manuscript, and the stark reality is that “You ain’t always gonna be that popular.” Eventually, you just might need a new agent.

  4. I don’t get people getting mad at agents. I have only gotten nice rejections (seems like an oxymoron but it’s true). You all are doing your jobs to the best of your ability the way we are 🙂

  5. None of the rejections I received have hurt. Granted, this is my first foray into the agent-query process, but I went into it with the knowledge that rejection was going to happen. It seems silly to waste time to behave in such a negative manner. It is counterproductive and not as though anybody is going to stay up nights thinking, “Darn it. It was the one that got away.”

    Of course Matt is right too – an offer of representation is not a guarantee that one will get published, let alone see their book reach best-seller status.

  6. That dude is celebrating way too early. I know people who have gotten agents yet nothing happened. Sometimes the agent will suggest a bunch of rewrites but doesn’t connect with changes the author made. Once that happens, the agent loses love for the manuscript and may start to focus on his/her other clients. In the particular case I’m referencing, the agent had some other clients who were taking off, and my author friend was pushed to the background. Eventually they cut ties. Happily, my friend found a new agent about a year later and he got her a deal. But that’s not the only case of agent revision purgatory I’m aware of so don’t fall asleep after you sign an agency contract.

  7. Some of us DO get hardened to it – when I started out, it was one of the best lessons learned. Rejection really helped me figure out what worked and why, particularly when it came from those awesome agents who took the time to personalize their feedback.

    I have sent a few e-mails like the one above, but not to rub the agents’ faces in it – rather to tell them that my manuscript sold and to thank them for the feedback they gave me that made the sale possible, even if we were not the right fit at the time.

  8. Wow. We’ve probably all encountered rudeness in this business. But organised, followed-up rudeness? A new one on me!

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