Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Thanking Agents

Dear Rejecter,
Several agents have requested my full ms, and one of them recently sent me a very kind no. She clearly gave the book a thoughtful, thorough read and her letter to me included encouraging and constructive feedback. I'd like to send her a thank-you note, acknowledging her time and encouragement. Is this appropriate? Or would an agent just think it was weird to receive a thank-you for what was, after all, a no?

If the agent went through all that trouble, you can do it, but it is a pointless exercise for the most part. We do occasionally get thank you's, oddly enough for queries, and they're pointless and we just throw them out. But for what she did, it wouldn't hurt, certainly, if you send something else to that agent sometime in the near future.

In all other situations I would not recommend the waste of paper and postage.

21 comments:

Kim Kasch said...

I understand what you're saying but it goes against the grain - for me.

If someone took some of their time and spent it on me, I always feel like I should say "Thanks".

The Wonderful-World of Publishing sometimes feels Peculiar.

Anonymous said...

Is this a real blog?
I mean, "The Rejector"? How demeaning and condescending is that? You reject 95% of what comes to your office. Wow, does the agent do their job at all ?

I am glad you have all this power, so use it to help, not contradict terms.

For instance, you tell this young lady in this post that a thank you is a waste of time that "we" meaning real agents just throw them away. But in a few blogs before you talk about assuming and kindness and how it is polite to let an agent know something, I forgot as it was crap.

Who cares who you hate or why you hate queries. If you hate them so much, then hey, here is your free advice for the day: find another job rejector!

Before you attack about the Anonymous, I did that because I was told today(in a diehard laugh of course) about your blog and had to check it for myself.

If you want to put a subtitle stating your amateur status, then yes, this blog would be great for people out there, real human beings, so they wouldn't feel crushed by your idiosyncrasies and could get a kick out of it like most I am sure do.

Anonymous said...

Um....!
Was that a real comment?
I suspect not, so maybe there's no point, but...

a) "You reject 95% of what comes to your office. Wow, does the agent do their job at all?"
Have you ever waded into an agent/publisher's slush pile? Do you know how deep it is, and what the quality of the average submission's like? Most of it is awful, and there's a lot of it. An agent could never read it all AND do the rest of his/her job - ie, working on behalf of the authors he/she actually represents. So, assistants act as a filter. What's surprising about that?

b) I think maybe you should read some more of Rejecter's old posts. The blog title and the "I just hate your query letter" line might seem snarky out of context, but they're a bit of straight-talking fun. In fact this blog is helpful, thoughtful and generous with its advice. That's why writers read it. We care which queries the Rejecter hates and why because we want to know how to improve our own submissions.

Your last paragraph simply doesn't make sense. I have no idea what you were trying to say. Are you a writer? I find it hilarious that you'd be so sneery and superior, and do it in such garbled prose.

Elissa M said...

Why are trolls always anonymous? This one's explanation of its anonymous status doesn't even make sense. And it couldn't even spell your pseudonym.

Being Beth said...

Back to the topic at hand...

Part of being professional is expressing sincere gratitude. In the instance of receiving a thoughtful and encouraging rejection from an agent, I think a thank you note is very appropriate. What the agent does with it isn't my business, but professional etiquette and genuine expressions of appreciation is. I'll continue to write thank you notes.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness...is all I can say. Someone seriously wrote that?

The Rejecter said...

People leave all kinds of crazy comments when they're angry about their prospects of being published. I generally don't reject them unless they contain ethnic or racial slurs.

Ralph Gallagher said...

Wow. Some people have nothing better to do than type out a long winded rant. I wish I had that much free time on my hands. Ironically, the verification word it's asking me to input, is hater. I guess blogger actually has a sense of humor.

acpaul said...

I wonder if Anon 8:41 is the same person who attacked the swivet on her own blog not so long ago.

The tone of the post seems consistent.

Jen said...

It also seems similar to a poster at Nathan Bransford a few days ago. Then again, it has been my experience that there are a LOT of upset people in the world ready to hurl it all at anyone who will listen... I can only imagine that some people are very unhappy about not being accepted for publication.

Taire said...

I would definitely send a thank you for all the time and constructive criticism. The worst the agent can do is throw it out without reading it. However, being an agent seems to be a thankless job, and one little thank you might really be appreciated. Other agent blogs have even mentioned how frustrating it is to find out that an author has taken a manuscript the agent spent a lot of time on and not resubmitted. Only you can tell if resubmitting would be appropriate in your case. But don't let other people tell you to be rude and not say thank you. Though the number of submissions agents receives may be dehumanizing, agents are still people.

Ben B. said...

'If someone took some of their time and spent it on me, I always feel like I should say "Thanks".'

I'm kind of the same way. That sort of reminds me of the old telephones. When people had to say the number they wanted to dial out loud to an operator, they were discouraged from saying "Please", because the operator might mishear it as "Three".

Anonymous said...

my rejections have always come in the form of email. one recently was helpful, thoughtful, and constructive and i just shot back a quick email thanking her for her time and thoughtful feedback.

that said, i am a huge fan of hand-written thank yous.

The Rejecter said...

Yes, it's your call of course to say "thank you" (to all of the people who like doing it). But I'm just warning against doing it because if we start getting a thank you for every query letter, we're going to have to come out with some "no thank you cards!" rule.

Megan Frampton said...

I got a great personalized rejection, via email, and sent an email back thanking the person. I got an email reply saying she was blown away by my professional reply, and to definitely query again with other projects. So for my experience, it was worth replying with a 'thanks for taking the time and giving feedback' email.

anotheranon said...

It depends. I think, truly, editors/agents have enough mail to sort through that they actually don't want another piece to read, especially with their backlog -- getting a thank you note four months after the fact and they might be saying, "Who was this? What was her book?"

Also, there is a big difference between a thank you note that IS a thank you note and a thank you note that is somewhat kiss-ass as if you are trying to get that agent/editor to remember you for the next time you send something. There is a lot of false praise and agent/editor worship going on, I'd assume lots of agents see right through it.

Why not just save the "thank you" for the agent that takes you on or the editor that actually buys the book?

Rick Daley said...

I had an encouraging rejection on a partial (yes, that is an oxymoron, but I swear that's what it was).

I sent a very polite thank you for the agent's time and consideration, and asked for a clarification on one of the comments I received. The agent gave a short, but useful, bit of additional feedback.

I guess the moral of this story is that every situation is unique, but whatever you do, be polite and professional.

Sally said...

I must admit, I've read this blog once or twice before and wondered if it was genuine or not. You do seem extremely scathing of would-be authors and very pleased with your 'Rejector' status. I did wonder if you were actually an author who had been rejected too many times and had developed a serious chip on both shoulders. Now I truly think that perhaps you are genuine. If so, then I'm in agreement with the first 'Anonymous'. If you are real, I think I'll give up even thinking about trying to get published. If they're all like you I think I might as well quit before I even start. How depressing:(

The Rejecter said...

Sally,

I was rejected a TON of times before I was published, for several different novels. Eventually I hit one and found an editor who liked it and an agent who would take me on, and two years later I've got two book contracts on my wall and a third in the mail. So there's no reason not to try. The process is very discouraging, but if you are a good writer, something will come along.

Time between my first attempt to get published and my first book contract: 12 years. But then again, I submitted my first book to publishers when I was 14.

Anonymous said...

I'd certainly thank any agent who took the time to send me a useful, detailed, personalized rejection.

Still waiting for it to happen, though.

maya said...

I couldn't imagine saying thanks to someone who just said no to a query. Agents are busy and so am I--trying to work up the query or the ms to something better. But I did just get an email from an agent who said she was very torn because she liked my whole ms, but didn't like one bit of it. It happened to be something I had decided to revisit, so wrote back to thank her and to ask if she'd be interested, once that was worked on, in taking another look. She said yes and now we are best friends. Well. Fingers crossed she'll be getting her 15% at some point soon, anyhow.

I guess every situation is different. BTW, I like the blog. I thought the moniker was pretty tongue in cheek...but then I'm not as bitter, this week ;)