Like most agents, I have to reject the vast majority of pitches I get. Even if I loved them all, I simply don’t have the time to represent three hundred thousand writers, give or take. So I have to pick the writers I think have a good, salable project and — here’s the key — aren’t going to drive me insane. I’m already close enough to the edge, thank you.
So, a tale of two rejections. Author A sent me a proposal, which I rejected. She sent me a follow-up note asking a question. She was gracious, polite and obviously appreciated that I’d taken the time to respond to her original query. (I’ve had enough pitches land in the Black Hole of Non-Response that I wouldn’t do that to other writers.) I responded to her follow-up note and invited her to pitch me again any time she had another project. I wasn’t rejecting her, personally, and she understood that. She was intelligent, professional and the kind of person I would take on as a client in two minutes, just as soon as she had a project I thought I could sell.
Author B also had a project that I rejected. In her follow-up note, she abused me, the industry and all of the other writers who are achieving umerited success, then implied that I would regret passing up the opportunity to represent her.
Are you kidding me? Even if some other agent takes on this project, sells it to a huge publishing conglomerate for a significant advance AND it’s a best-seller, I am ALWAYS going to consider Author B a bullet dodged.
In fact, I’m starting to think about rejecting everyone who queries me just to see how they take it. The ones who don’t lose their minds will pass the test and be invited to submit again.
I know rejection is hard. I was getting rejections when half the people who read this blog were still writing with crayons. I cannot count the number of times I’ve written the “I’ll show you, you dimwitted asshat!” letter. But I have never sent it, and I never will. And neither should you.