As I’ve said before, I don’t have time to respond to all the emails asking why they got rejected. These authors are essentially asking for a critique. While I want to respond, I have to balance my time and the problem that my response may hit people the wrong way. Some people claim they want to know, but aren’t ready to hear.
A few days ago, I responded. I had time and no more work to do, and this author asked with a humble tone.
I answered their specific question, then gave a critique of their pitch and first page. The email ended up longer than most of my blog posts.
But it was worth it. I felt good afterward, helping a writer who showed promise.
The next day I got a short reply. It said thank you, the author appreciated my time, and they were taking my comments to heart.
I saved that email. I want to look back on it when I’m slogging through queries on the not-so-good days. When it seems people are just trolling us. When I send rejection after rejection to manuscripts I like but aren’t ready.
It encourages me when I can see what our agency accomplishes. Writing and publishing are about communicating truths about life. It’s a worthwhile endeavor, but it mixes hard work, disappointment, and low material payoff.
Everyone in the industry does it for the satisfaction of sending good books out into the world. Reading a book that rips you up inside and sharing it: that’s my favorite feeling. That’s what we do.
I can think of few things as important as this.
So thank you, author. I’m glad I could help. I hope beyond hope you get published one day, and share your stories, characters, and truths with the world.
Image by Martin Sveden.