Friday, April 18, 2008

Stupid Things People Do #I don't know

So you submitted to editors and agencies, and were rejected. They wrote a personalized rejection, though, praising certain elements of your book but deciding at the end it's "just not right for them." Well, good for you. You were close.

That said, do not, under any circumstances, include a rejection letter from another agent or a publishing house in your query letter to an agent. It doesn't help if you underline and/or highlight the line of praise; it's still a rejection and you definitely shouldn't be showing it to us. The time to mention what publishing houses rejected you (so that we don't resubmit) is AFTER we've taken you on as a client, and not before.

I don't know why people do this, but they do.

I'll be offline until Monday night for Passover, so don't expect a lot of comments to be approved between tonight and then unless I get a friend to do it for me. Enjoy, and Chag Sameach!


Anonymous said...

Good post. I can see how a writer would do that, since they're just trying to pass on as much professional feedback about the work as possible to potential collaborators, but a rejection is still a net negative, so you don't want to bring it up until you have represenation.

But after you do have an agent or a publisher...I don't see any reason not to share criticism from agents or editors who commented on the work specifically in the course of rejecting it. What you're looking for is shared sentiments. If 2 or more people are getting at the same type of comment, there is probably something to it.

Dennis Cass said...

Great post. I also think this is a example of how mysterious publishing seems from the outside. You send your query into a magic box (agency, publishing house, magazine, etc.) and you wait and wait and wait. Eventually the magic box spits out a rejection letter. The letter says bad things, but it also says nice things. What does it all mean? What is the magic box trying to tell me? So the next time you send something into the magic box you include your rejection letter. Because maybe that will make it happy.

Dennis Cass said...

An example. Sorry.