i thought it might be fun for folks who haven't quite made it to the query stage to see a sample of responses from agents... and those of you who have been through query hell can chuckle along when some of these letters look familiar. ;)
here is every single response i got to my 11 queries, both requests and rejections.
(the names of all agents and agencies have been omitted to protect the innocent).
first, these are what we call "form rejections" - or the emails agents copy and paste in response to authors when they're not interested in seeing the manuscript.
they have to do this, guys, otherwise they'd do nothing all day but write personal emails to people they are not going to represent. And that just doesn't make sense. They are working for a living you know.
writers spend hours, days even, agonizing over the meaning behind these rejections, but let me tell you - they all pretty much say the same thing:
"I'm just not that into you."
Thank you for your query. I'm afraid that your book isn't right for me at this time and I'm going to pass. Please keep in mind, however, that the publishing business is a subjective one and this is only one agent's opinion. There may very well be another agent out there for whom your work would be a better fit.
Due to the sheer volume of queries I receive, I regret that I am unable to give a personalized reply or any additional feedback on your query.
All the best,
Thanks so much for considering us. Although this sounds quite interesting, it is not what we are looking for at this very time.
Thanks so much for giving us the opportunity and good luck in your quest for publication.
Thank you so much for sending the (XXX) Agency your query. We’d like to apologize for the impersonal nature of this standard rejection letter. Rest assured that we do read every query letter carefully and, unfortunately, this project is not right for us. Because this business is so subjective and opinions vary widely, we recommend that you pursue other agents. After all, it just takes one "yes" to find the right match.
Good luck with all your publishing endeavors.
Thank you very much for thinking of me and (XXX) Management for representation. Due to the large volume of submissions that I receive, it is impossible for me to answer every query individually, however I assure you that your material was carefully evaluated. After consideration, I regret to say that your project is not right for my list at this time. As you know, this is a subjective business and another reader may feel differently. To that end I wish you the best in finding enthusiastic representation.
Thank you for your query. (XXX) asked me to reply after he evaluated your submission.
We’re afraid your project does not seem right for our list, but thank you for thinking of (XXX), and best of luck in your search for representation.
Thanks for your query.
As to your material I'm afraid I must pass -- I'm just not enthusiastic enough about the premise of your story to feel that I'd be the right agent for the project. Our agency represents a very full list of fiction writers and we must be highly selective in adding to it. I realize it is difficult to judge your potential from a query; nevertheless please know that I give serious attention to every letter, outline, and writing sample I receive.
Sorry I couldn't give you a more positive reply. Thanks for thinking of me, though, and best of luck in your search for representation.
This is an example of a semi-personal rejection:
Thank you for your recent e-mail and for your help with the contest, I appreciate it. I regret to say that I don’t feel that I’m the most appropriate agent for your work.
However, opinions vary considerably in this business, and I wish you the best of luck in your search for representation.
And these are (WooHoo!) - REQUESTS!
Thank you for querying me. I'm interested in your idea and would like to request the full manuscript. You can email it to me as a Word attachment (.doc or .rtf file) or you can mail it to me at the address below.
(followed by extensive submission guidelines)
Thank you for your email. Your novel sounds interesting and we would like to read the manuscript; you're welcome to send it as a Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF attachment. We'd prefer to consider your novel on an exclusive basis for two weeks, if at all possible.
We look forward to reading your work.
Please send me the full! As a word or rtf attachment is fine -- but please not a "docx"
Hi Erin-- Happy to read, please do send by email,
I especially like that last email. Short, sweet, and my first ever full manuscript request! :)