Writing back: Avoid temptation…

I understand that it feels good to receive a personal response to your query  –  even if it’s a rejection letter – because it explains why the query was rejected. That’s feedback you usually won’t get. I send these out with a fair amount of trepidation because I consider the chances of receiving a reply that invites me to make merry with the barnyard animal of my choosing. It happens far more than I like.

However. What about you polite ones who feel the need to thank the agent or editor for their time?

May I suggest that you sit on your hands and avoid the temptation to write back? Sure, a thank you is always nice, but it’s quite unnecessary. Remember, we have no hearts or souls – and even though you’re falling back on your good breeding, we won’t look at your thank you as anything other than another piece of email to delete. I know, it seems heartless thing to say in light of someone’s good manners,  but this is a business, not a sorority. You don’t send a thank you note to the employer who passed you over and chose someone else to fill the position, right?

In a word; we read, rejected, and moved on. And so should you.

If you receive a rejection letter that gave very specific reasons as to how it went wrong, avoid the temptation to write back a long diatribe thanking me for helping you realize that you have a good voice after all. Um, I already knew that. You don’t need to discuss your lack of platform – I’d already pointed it out. Same for the structure of your pitch and lack of highlighting the pertinent information.

And for the love of the Cosmic Muffin, PLEASE don’t tell me you’re more concerned with getting your book “out there” than you are with seeing a financial return on your book. Good holy verbs and nouns, Batman, this is literary bug repellent to an editor, and a comment like that will send her finger to the rejection button faster than the beagle can drink a pitcher of margaritas.

Money makes the world go ’round, baby, and if you aren’t in it to win it, then go to Publish America. But never, never, EVER tell anyone it’s not about the money. Until the world runs on Bing cherries, showing a financial profit is the litmus for success. And I assume success IS on your mind, right?

In short, this kind of reply is a stream-of-consciousness conversation you should be having with yourself – not me. I appreciate that you’re grateful for the feedback and that something I wrote may help you in the long run, but I’ve moved on. Really. And I don’t mean to sound like a grass licking bovine because I ADORE authors, but it’s simply the nature of the biz.

7 Responses to Writing back: Avoid temptation…

  1. NinjaFingers says:

    A lot of people…I’m always telling new writers ‘Don’t send thank you notes to agents who rejected you’.

    They always think I’m being horribly rude…I may just have to forward this blog to the next one.

  2. Ray says:

    SHOW ME THE MONEY, dammit

  3. kimkircher says:

    This is why I follow your blog. Now I can tell my mom, sometimes it’s okay not to send a thank-you.

  4. Dear Ms Price,
    I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for telling us this. Now, don’t forget to thank me for the thank you, will you? Otherwise, you will have broken the rules of good manners unforgiveably. If you do write thank me for the thanks, I will, naturally, thank you for thanking me for the thanks. And so the world goes on, with no chance of getting any real writing done.
    Yours ever,
    The Crabbit One from Scotland

  5. Bill Webb says:

    Hey thanks for this…sorry can’t resist a good straight line.

  6. abroadabroad says:

    I’m writing to let you know I will not be thanking you for this blog, a rejection, or any help you may give. I realize that your time is valuable, so will not take it up with mindless thank-yous and drivel. However, I would like to thank the Beagle for keeping you supplied with Margaritas as you let us know you don’t want thanks!

  7. Phhht…bunch of weisenheimers.

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