I once had an agency dash ( in bold and angry words!!! ) across my introduction letter a message how they couldn’t, wouldn’t and won’t represent an author who couldn’t follow simple instructions. They rejected my offering without even looking.
And my crime? They asked for 20 pages and I sent them 22. Because that’s where the chapter broke, and that’s where the story had a nice twist.
I understand the dynamics. Authors beg agents. Agents, who are often failed authors, now sit on the Throne of Power, permitting those who come before them to crawl into their presence and all that.
But here’s what I’m seeing now..Agents are asking for email submissions. That’s fine – I think my offering looks better in paper form, but I’ll go with what’s required. There are the usual other things, no simultaneous submissions, a response in three to four weeks, all that. Very nice. I understand.
And usually I’ll always get a response written on my cover letters for paper-drops. Sometimes it’s useful. I often will tune my cover letter on the basis of feedback.
But email submissions? I think one time I’ve actually gotten the courtesy of a response. And yes, they all gotten it – I’ve got the automated response as verification. But somehow, these same picky agents, who demand so much and promise nothing, don’t offer the dubious consideration of a rejection. So I’ll post out three or four e-queries and months go by and suddenly I realize I’m stalled waiting for rejections that never come.
I know what’s going on. A traditional agency had the physical papers to shuffle. They junior agents would take a stack home, they’d flip through their submissions during television commercial breaks and dash off their replies. But now, with everything in electronic form, they don’t quite have that read-reply, read-reply system worked out yet. They click through them and forget about them. We just go into the deleted folder and that’s it for them. And meanwhile we wonder what ever happened to our submissions.
This is really a bite-job. If you are going to provide us with extensive query GUIs (that often take longer to assemble than our usual paper efforts) come up with a methodical rejection (after all, 99% of your submission are going to get it, right?). But don’t leave us hanging.
Maybe I’m just bitter since I’ve had agencies try to milk me for editing charges, agency charges, copy charges, everything. I’ve had an agency walk away without telling me when my publisher folded and took my royalties and rights with them. So if you are going to be dishonorable businessmen, fine. Nothing I can do. But for Christ sakes, send me a rejection letter so I can move on to someone who might appreciate my stuff.