Thank you for your proposal.

Yesterday I received a rejection email from a literary agent and I was pleased to get it. Disappointed in the rejection, naturally, though happy someone had been courteous enough to let me know. I’m old enough and life-experienced enough to understand I won’t always get what I wish for, so I can cope (just!) with being told my book isn’t good enough or suitable for their list. What I find difficult to accept is that agents and publishers don’t seem to understand this.

In scouring the submission guidelines on the websites of literary agents I’ve found quite number saying ‘we try to make a decision within three months and if you haven’t heard from us in that time please assume we won’t be proceeding’. I’m aware that many agents are extremely busy – but they haven’t time to drop back an email saying ‘thanks but no thanks’? One agent justified their position by saying they receive 1500 submissions a year. By my calculation that’s around 6 each working day – consequently possibly ten minutes a day, maximum, to email a standard rejection letter to six authors waiting for a reply. Authors who’ve spent years writing the book, not to mention spending ages researching a particular agent’s guidelines, writing a synopsis, constructing a covering letter and making the submission.

I’m not having a blast at agents, just asking for a little professional courtesy.

What’s your experience?

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2 comments

    • Charlie Garratt

      I guess the point I was trying to make was that it’s not really about frustration, or my insecurity as an author, but about manners. As a writer submitting to an agent or publisher, we’re asked to comply with a number of conventions (line spacing, number of chapters, font, etc) and I presume most serious submissions comply so how long does it take to send a standard rejection?

      Liked by 1 person

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