Do agents owe writers rejection letters?

There seems to be a ton of controversy in the writing world as to whether agents have some sort of obligation to send an actual rejection vs. stating something along the lines of “if you haven’t heard from us in 6-8 weeks, that’s a no from us.” I have a number of thoughts on this situation, largely influenced by my years of working in publishing.

Neither of the publishing houses I worked for were particularly big, and I’d imagine that even if we were, there’s no way we received as many queries as an agent must, especially a “big name” agent. Still, yes, I believe they owe a rejection form letter, at least.

I was the person who wrote the rejection letters, so this isn’t a matter of me not understanding, say, the time that goes into doing so. Also, don’t get me started on the annoyance that comes from receiving queries for novels when you are a non-fiction publisher.

Moreover, I have discovered something wonderful that may not have existed when I was in publishing: Query Manager (and similar programs).

I don’t know why every agent doesn’t use this. I’ve found it to be a delight – at any moment I can verify that my submission was received, I’ve received both rejections and requests for material through Query Manager, and uploading my materials has been simple.

Send a form letter and don’t apologize for doing so. I personally find the “I’m sorry for the form letter” to be unnecessary – I realize that people are busy. I don’t think people are too busy for common courtesy, and a reply is courtesy (like how you should ALWAYS reply to an invitation, even if the reply is no).

I realize this is controversial, and marks me as one of THOSE people. I’m also someone who queried an agent, never heard back, later re-queried them, and got a request for full. My query letter didn’t change in the interim. Is it possible they never received the original query? Sure. Is it also possible that they had a place for my piece that they didn’t before? Sure! This is why I lean so hard toward sending a response.

Advertisements

First ever writing competition

It had never occurred to me in the past to enter a writing competition, but a gal from my NYC writers’ group got her agent through a competition, so I figured I had nothing to lose.

Results came out this week, and while I’m not a finalist, I’m pleased with my scores. Out of a possible 135 points, I got 116, with several 5s (the best grade). One of the judges even said that she’d buy my book! I’m feeling quite encouraged (and being extra cautious about my use of the word “so” because…it was bad, y’all).

I’m glad I entered, because I needed that boost. Hopefully next year, I’ll move up to finalist!

New beginnings

I’m going to start writing something new soon, once I wrap up The Waiting Game (parts 2 & 4 are on-going and about halfway done). It’s been a long time since I’ve written something new, with new characters and a new place and all that. I’m excited to start, but it’s going to be unpleasant (haha, of course it is). I have one scene kicking around in my brain, and it’s making me uncomfortable having it in there. Hopefully I’ll find time to write it down soon.

I’ve also joined a critique group! I’m looking forward to the feedback and getting to spend time with other people’s writing again. Hopefully this will be a good group, and we’ll all make each other’s work better.

This is the busiest time of year for me personally, with birthdays and holidays and such, but I’m still sticking to writing every day, even if usually I’m not writing as much as I’d like. And I finished Theft by Finding and I’ve started Bird Box (the movie version filmed on my sister’s land, so I’ve been looking forward to reading the book, since I’ll have to see the movie). I’m tearing through it, so maybe I’ll be able to fit another book in this month as well to keep on pace for 12 books this year.

Over all, I’m reminding myself that my goal this year is progress, not perfection, and I’m making progress every day!

Agony

I received the best, kindest, most amazing rejection this week.

“Thank you for your query. I think there’s a place for this, but it hits a little too close to home for me.”

I cannot stop rereading this. It is, of course, kind of the point of Cycling – it’s supposed to hit close to home. And I 100% get this feeling – in the time since I wrote it, I’ve gone through some of the things the characters go through, and it has made it rough to go back to this piece.

And I need to hear that there’s a place for this book. I need to know that other people, people who know about these things, also see something here. It’s lifted me up a bit in the midst of continuing to wait for some good news.

Progress Report 1-29-18

I’ve begun querying agents again (y’all, this is NOT fun). I have gotten a partial request, so at least something’s happening, but I am definitely in the early days. A few rejections, a lot of waiting.

I’ve written every day in January so far, and am trying to keep up that momentum. One of my February goals is finishing up the second Waiting Game book, so I’m doing bits and pieces on that for now.

I’m looking forward to a new month, and getting more exciting things done.

Progress Report 1-22-18

Last week was a rough one. Like much of the northeast, we got a bit of snow, which means my kids were home a lot more than usual, and I was home more than usual. Luckily, this week we are (hopefully!) back in our routine.

As far as my goals for the month….I’m done!

This is why I went with some small, easy goals this month, but here’s the final check in.

  • I finished my edits on Cycling! I went through everything my editor sent, and then I read through everything again to make sure things still made sense and flowed well. This means I’m officially back to querying, which means I’m constantly refreshing my email tab. Not really, but I am definitely stressed about that already.
  • I finished reading Paul Tremblay’s A Head Full of Ghosts. What an amazing book! Definitely one of those books that you finish and can’t stop thinking about. It was such a sad book, for so many reasons, and scary and fun.
  • My house purchase was beds for my kids, and we got them put together last weekend. Both kids are excited for the change in their rooms. I’m hoping it will encourage my toddler to sleep in her own room more.

I’m excited to figure out my goals for next month.