do and don't

Don’t say this to an agent

Agents are human too.

They have feelings. They have finite time. They want to support good, kind authors. When a book is exciting but not publishable, they’re upset. When sending a rejection, they know it hurts because they get rejections from editors.

If an agent rejects you, remember they’re human too. Don’t react out of disappointment or resentment.

Don’t reply to a rejection — agents get enough email already.

If you do reply, just say, “Thank you for letting me know.” There are some agencies and agents who don’t let you know: they get too much mail and literally don’t have time. (Each form rejection takes me 30-60 seconds.)

A rejection letter means someone took the time to read and evaluate your whole query

Things not to say:

  1. “You’re my [number]th rejection.”
  2. Fake form replies to get back at the agent.
  3. Insults against interns and assistants.
  4. Implication the agent isn’t good at their job.
  5. Accusation that the agent doesn’t care about their job.
  6. Disgust at how long they took to reply.
  7. Disgust at how short they took to reply.

Believe it or not, I can read the disgust behind the snark.

Everything on this list I received more than once in the last 7 days. While you may think it’s common sense, a lot of people don’t, don’t think about it, or are too angry to use their heads.

Never press ‘Send’ in an incensed state of mind.

Be polite. Be professional.

And take the time for self-care. Lashing out usually means you haven’t gotten to step back. Gather your encouraging people and separate yourself from your work. Your self-worth is not your book. You are a writer, no matter what.


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