I ran across something recently that 1) has me giggling in silent rapture, and 2) has me thanking the author of this aptly-called Form Hate Mail (I’m giggling at the title, too), on Colleen Lindsay’s blog “The Swivet,” for leaving an opening somewhere in the query world for the rest of us. What can I say, I’m easily amused and quick to jump into the place of morons that fall… and fall hard.
No matter how hurt you are by a rejection, you should NEVER respond to the rejectioner with something such as this. In fact, you shouldn’t respond at all, no matter how polite you were taught to be in your upbringing. I feel your pain here. I, too, was raised to be polite and say ‘thank you’, but I fight the urge when that “thanks, but not for me” comes through my email. Agents have enough emails to sort through, and I’m just happy they responded at all. What you need to do is grow thicker skin before entering the querying world. As many agents have stated, it is nothing personal against the writer (well, it probably will be now for this particular one–i.e., agents talk). It is merely a case of the material not being “right” for that particular agent, so it is also nothing personal against the writer’s work. It’s just not what they are looking for at the time. Believe me, I have plenty of these stories! Here’s a hint: do some research. Yes, it takes some time, but it will be entirely worth that time if you do this and follow their submission guidelines correctly. This writer failed to do so. You had to do research for your manuscript, didn’t you? How is this any different? And if you didn’t do any research for your ms, I’m not certain I’d care to read it because even fiction requires research. As someone who enjoys the hell out of researching things, I find looking for that “right” agent to be rather entertaining at times, otherwise I wouldn’t have found “The Swivet” or the many others I have come across, where I spend entirely too much time giggling in silent rapture. Their blogs are abound with helpful hints on how to query, how to write the query, how to format everything under the sun, and what to add to your query, if there is anything to add (e.g. sample pages, synopsis, etc.). My research has only just begun, while I’m finishing my latest novel, but I’m logging those agents I’ve found in an Excel spreadsheet. I have also found a few for some friends to query, and have forwarded the information to them. Yeah, I’m a nice gal… most of the time.
To help you along, here’s a great site for researching agents: AgentQuery.com (hint: do a ‘full search’)
Here’s another: Publisher’s Marketplace
So… do your research. Research the hell out of them! It gives you a better chance at finding the right agent for you. But, don’t become a stalker. That’s just weird.
And thank you, dear author of the Form Hate Mail. Because of you, my eyes are more open to what a writer should NEVER do!