STATUS: Today I spent lots of time on the phone. I can’t quite believe it’s 3 in the afternoon and I still have quite the TO DO list. I think it’s going to be a late one in the office.
What’s playing on the iPod right now? MESSAGE OF LOVE by The Pretenders
Y’all convinced me; it’s time for a standard rejection letter revise. A quick thank you to all who commented and contributed. I found the reasons why a change should be made quite helpful.
I’m ditching the “sounds intriguing part” and revamping the last paragraph about finding the right match.
Here’s the new and (hopefully) improved letter.
March 15, 2007
Thank you so much for sending the Nelson Literary Agency your query.
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.
Because this business is so subjective and opinions vary widely, we recommend that you pursue other agents. After all, it just takes one “yes” to find the right match.
Good luck with all your publishing endeavors.
1. I decided to keep the apology because I am truly sorry that we have to send an impersonal standard letter, and it makes me feel better to have that line included.
2. In the beginning, we actually did “personalize” our standard letter by including the author’s name and title of the project, but the time saved by no longer doing do so is huge; I regret it but we really can’t go back. Sorry! I hear you on how much nicer it is and although query letters are important, they aren’t our first priority.
3. As you noticed, I changed to “project” rather than “we aren’t the right agency for you.” It was a great point you folks made that maybe I’m not interested in this project but the next one could win me over. It’s important to leave the door open.
4. I totally changed the last paragraph and now that I’ve done so, I like this version a lot better.
Other Random Thoughts:
1. When we request and read a full manuscript, we do actually write a completely personalized letter explaining why we are passing. We also semi-personalize our sample pages rejection by including the author’s name and title of the project. I will often write a personal note as well.
2. We don’t have multiple rejection letters. Too time-consuming yet again. Besides, the general consensus from writers is that they appreciate a prompt response and it’s what we have to do to respond quickly. I’m in awe of other agencies that can quickly fire off personalized letters. We’ve tried it and it just doesn’t work for us.
3. And finally, just an interesting tidbit. Sara and I use the same rejection letter when responding so actually there really isn’t a way for anyone to tell if Sara passed on the letter during the first read or if it went to me and I sent the rejection letter.