Rejecting Queries With Individual Attention

Thank you for your query. I’m afraid it’s just not right for me. I wish you the best of luck.

That’s what I usually write when I’m sending a rejection e-mail. I actually type that out each time I send a rejection. To me, it’s not a form rejection. Sometimes I say, “I do wish you the best of luck.” Sometimes I say, “I’m sorry but it’s not right for me.” Each time I send out one of these rejection e-mails I think I should write something more personal. So I try…. I sit and think about what exactly my intention is.

The first thing I always want to tell the writer is that I really appreciate that they were brave enough to send their manuscript out into the world for someone (in this case, me)Β  to read.

The second thing I really wantΒ  to convey to them is that just because I’m not saying yes doesn’t mean that someone else won’t.

The last thing is I really want to wish them well on this journey of being a writer.

I guess I’m kind of a moron because even when I’m not zipping through queries at a breakneck speed, when I slow down and remember exactly what my intention is for a rejection e-mail to this writer, what I come up with is:

Thank you for your query. I’m afraid it’s just not right for me. I wish you the best of luck.

Are you ok with getting a “form rejection”? Do you resent it? Do you even care?


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14 responses to “Rejecting Queries With Individual Attention

  1. I really needed to read this today. I have recieved a few rejection letters and only a select few seemed to have a little bit of something to show that the agent actually cared enough to not just send a pretyped auto response. Its good to know my hard work is not just brushed aside that some one out there knows I’m putting my soul into it.

  2. I’m fine with form rejections too and actually never had a problem with them. My skin is more like a turtle now. πŸ™‚ I’m just glad when I hear something back so I can move on, whether that’s more querying, revising, or starting a new project.

    You are so sweet to personalize them all. I’m sure it won’t be long before you are being bombarded with a gazillion queries (if you aren’t already). I think most writers understand how busy agents are and that form letters do make good business sense.

  3. I don’t mine the form rejection on the query.

    I DO WISH we didn’t have to get them on submissions. I think more than anything, I REALLY want to know to what page they read. Like on a partial did they read the whole thing and just not love it enough to ask for more? Or was there a spot that dragged and they stopped reading. Or a terrible scene they just couldn’t get over?

    On my first MS I received a few forms but ONE personal R that was so AWESOME and really pointed out some things that I thought were clear but weren’t. And I could tell she read more than the first chapter. πŸ™‚

    I think most writers are curious if it was the pacing, the characters, or if the writing was just plain terrible. Or maybe the LOVE just wasn’t there enough.

    Great post! πŸ™‚

  4. Rejections, form or personal, give writers closure on the possibility of working with that person on that manuscript. That being said, personal rejections are nice. We know how busy agents are, so when one takes the time to send a personal note, it encourages writers and speaks volumes about the agent. Are they expected? No. But they really are appreciated.

  5. Personal rejections are clearly better than form letters. And form letters are obviously way better than hearing nothing at all. I have a lot of experience with different kinds of rejection letters, and a lot more to say about it — so much that after I started writing a comment here earlier today, I realized I might as well respond with a post of my own. Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Pingback: Submission « Giving Up The Ghost

  7. I definitely prefer a form letter to no response at all. And, like Little Miss Vix, if my name is written in the letter, I’m over the moon.

  8. I haven’t queried yet, but in premise I’m totally fine with it. I mean, obviously a writer always wants to know where they went wrong, but agents get so many e-mails that I wouldn’t expect them to write personally to everyone. I do think if you use the writer’s name specifically even if it is a form rejection it shows that it wasn’t just an auto-send response which is nice.

  9. It’s heartening to know that you put so much thought into it, and that you answer at all. What I resent is sending an e-mail query (as requested), whether for an article or a book, and never receiving a reply at all. Thanks for what you do.

    • Although I like to reply because I think it’s just the polite/right thing to do, I do understand agents who don’t. Some are getting literally hundreds of queries every day. It can end up being a full time job just to respond to each one, leaving the agent no time to actually do their job of agenting. So… I’ll keep my policy of each query getting some kind of answer for as long as I’m able. But I don’t think the agents who aren’t responding aren’t respectful of the writers querying them, I just think they’re overwhelmed.

  10. Most do send out form rejections so I’m fine with it, I’ve had a couple that just say dear sir / madam, it’s nice to see your name I think! When I’ve had a personal reply it has really stood out and given me hope as I knew they must have really liked it to do that as form is the norm. Ooh I rhymed πŸ™‚