The Scream Series – #6: Apres la rejection: “Will you help me?”

I wrote The Scream Series to highlight experiences I’ve had over the years that frustrate the bejabbers out of me…and it’s not because I’m being put out (well okay, that’s part of it), but because authors are adversely affected (which I think is criminal). Be it through an author’s own lack of understanding or someone else who screws up the publishing works; it’s important for authors to know the pitfalls and downfalls. I want authors to be successful. Let the screaming begin:

Scream #6 – Apres la rejection: “Will you help me?”

This is a common question because I often explain why I rejected their query letter. And because I’ve done this, many authors feel I’m opening up a dialog.

I’m not.

In truth, I’ve already rejected the query letter, deleted it from my Query Folder, and moved on to the other queries still awaiting my attention.

Here’s the thing; I’m a publisher, not a writing coach or adviser. Only time I wear those hats is with Behler authors. I don’t have the time to stop what I’m doing to read your new/improved query letter and tell you whether it’s more effective. That isn’t my job. It’s your job.

But I’m not without sympathy, which is why I try to personalize rejection letters. Not everyone does this, so don’t expect it. And don’t write back asking for personalized help, because we aren’t responsible for your writing career, and we won’t do your job for you.

Do the research. Learn the industry. Learn how to write an effective query letter. Knowledge is power, and the more you know, the better able you are to send a successful query letter and appreciate query etiquette.

I may sound like a hard-hearted, soulless sub-creature from Hell, but I honestly want authors to be successful. There are many excellent writing sites and communities whose sole purpose is to help and educate. Be the consummate professional at all times.

One Response to The Scream Series – #6: Apres la rejection: “Will you help me?”

  1. As always, your blog is direct and helpful with an edge of snark, which I enjoy. Which tells you something about me. You know, when my car needs servicing, I don’t expect myself to have diagnosed the problem. That is the mechanic’s job. That you answer/respond to queries amazes me. Forty queries later, less than half recipients responded at all. Virtually all my sends were reviewed by my writing coach. As I have notoriously said, out loud, everyone is too busy, so I’m impatient with that explanation. I’m too busy too. But I have had the good sense to invest time and some dollars with a developmental editor and an acquisitions editor and think I’ll skip an agent, since it looks like the bulk of representation will fall to me anyway, given that the best authority on my memoir is, well, me. That said, I’d be willing to spend time with that beagle of yours. That could be instructive. Meanwhile I am happy to crow a little about two submissions accepted by two magazines, paid besides.

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