I know literary agents are people too. And although some have asked me to be one, I’m not sure I’d want to take the risks they do. A lone man agent would have to spend a lot of time and resources networking, taking the publishers out to lunch, photocopying and posting wheelbarrowloads of manuscripts and all without any certainty of a return.
I read on one agent’s website this week that we writers should remember that agents have feelings and implored us to include gratitude and understanding in our queries. So I followed her immaculate people-friendly guidelines and wrote a friendly Dear Kristin query e-mailed letter ending with groveling thanks for taking the time to read and consider my Left Luggage sci fi novel. A day later the reply came: Dear Author… what? after the website urgings to be polite and all? But the reject goes on to say…
We’d like to apologize in advance for the impersonal nature of this standard rejection letter. Rest assured that we do read every query letter carefully and, unfortunately, this project is not right for us.
I’m used to form-letter reject letters and so the wording is reasonable but you’d think they could reply with my name!
The most bizarre literary agent reject letter I’ve seen this week was sent to a friend. It read:
“We can’t tell you what we want, but we’ll know it when we see it;
however, don’t send us anything we wouldn’t want.”
Isn’t that the best example of oblique writing? It’s just as well most writers have a terrific sense of humour!