Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Reply cards

Dear Rejecter:

I'm about to start sending query letters out and found examples of good and bad query letters on the underdown web site. One of the good examples mentioned "I have enclosed a reply card for your convenience." I've never heard of reply cards. What comes to mind is a postcard-like thing, self-addressed and stamped, with something like this:

Dear [Author]: we have read your manuscript and

___ you are a god. Please send us your MS immediately. P.S. We want to have your baby.

___ it might be right for somebody but please god, not us.

___ never submit anything else to us. The Hazmat teams totally trashed the place.

___ please settle a bet: which end of the pig did you pull your MS out of?

___ we have turned it over to the FBI, kiddie porn division.

But seriously: are these common in publishing? Can you buy them at stationery stores or should I make them up myself? Do I just leave them blank and let the agent supply the rejection text? Should I include only the positive response ("Please send us a copy of your MS.") or some negative ones too? Most importantly, are they a good idea or will they be seen in some mystical, inaccessible-to-industry-outsiders way as "unprofessional" (even without the humour)?

So I'm going to go neutral on this one. Comment cards don't generally annoy us, but sometimes they do, but not in a major way. And yes, we do get them from time to time.

Some agencies like to put a form rejection in the return envelope, and are annoyed when one isn't provided and they have to write their rejection instead (some people literally send a blank, SAS postcard). Some people don't find the humor funny (it usually isn't). On the other hand, yes, it is wicked convenient.

What is annoying is when an author provides various check marks, and somewhat literally, none of them offer us a rejection option. Then I have to write in a little "__x__ Thank you, but not for us" thingy. Don't be a dork.