We get them. We hate them, we love them, we need them.
We hate them because, well, they are rejections.
We love them because we can make a definite note on our query spreadsheet, not wait and wait and finally assume rejection.
We need them because they tell us we need to work harder, come across clearer, or in some way revamp our query.
We know you want to receive good queries, no, great queries. We want our query to be one of those great queries. We follow your blogs, we review your websites, we look up every interview we can find. We research query writing, until we almost drive ourselves mad with information, we write, we revise, we share, we get critiqued, then we go forth boldly and present our finished product to you.
We get form rejections. Sure, maybe some requests for partials or even fulls mixed in there, followed by form rejections. Every once in a while we even get a miraculous and wonderful personal rejection. Who thought rejection could be such an anticipated and noteworthy event? But it is! It tells us a little more specifically where we’re not hitting the mark. It gives us direction, it gives us goals, it gives us hope! In the end it will even give you something too, better queries for better books!
I want to send you the best query I can.
I appreciate your rejection, even your form rejection.
I just have one request.
Form rejections with a reason.
No, this does not mean a personal rejection, a critique, a line about our letter or our book. Just a form rejection with one additional comment; one word, maybe two, at the bottom. A category for the rejection, such as:
Genre (if the genre is not selling right now or you are just not wanting to look at it, even if it is just today, because we know that it is a genre you generally accept)
Not Exciting (if the pages or query itself were just not attention grabbing)
Writing (if you were unimpressed with the writing itself, either the pages or query)
Query (the letter itself did not provide enough detail about the book to give you anything to go on)
Personal (there was something about it that went against your personal tastes – like you just hate vampires even though you accept paranormal)
Considered (woohoo! - this lets us know that you did hold onto our query and re-read it at least once… you considered it but we didn’t quite hit the mark)
Not Match (yes, this would be back to the original standard form rejection – it really didn’t match with you, but you have nothing against it and no help to provide – we just move on and try other agents)
If these simple categories could be added to form rejections, and the agent then select which form rejection to send based on the reason code, then there could be several benefits to both agents and writers. If you fall into our second or third query round then hopefully you will get a query that has much improved from round one. In time this should lead to better overall queries in everyone’s inboxes, thanks to the small amount of direction provided by your colleagues in the agenting world. We, the writers, would be able to send out more great queries quicker and spend less time wondering, assuming, and sending out queries that are just a tad off the mark. We will hit the mark quicker, eliminating some of your query pain.
We do respect your jobs and the tough position you are in hashing through thousands of letters at a time. (At least a lot of us do.) We also appreciate your responses, even if they are short, vague, and form ones. But maybe, maybe, you would consider adding this one element to those form rejections. We would appreciate it, and hopefully you would all see the benefits of that small bit of direction as well.
We want to send you amazing queries!
Thank you for considering our literary works for further review (and yes, even rejection.)