Decoding Query Rejections
If you’ve ever queried agents, you’ve probably received pass letters with unhelpful lines such as, “this project is not a good fit for me.” Do you ever wonder what that really means? Many writers spend a lot of time trying to read between the lines of rejection letters and glean a hidden meaning.
Well, just so you don’t waste too much time trying to decode query responses, here’s a word to the wise: Query rejections are all about the euphemism.
If the agent isn’t going to take the time to give you specific feedback on your work, then you’re going to get some kind of platitude, such as:
Not a fit at this time.
Doesn’t meet our present needs.
I don’t have the right connections to sell this.
We receive many worthy manuscripts and can only take on a very few.
Not quite right for us.
And what does it mean? What it means is: We don’t have time to tell you why we’re rejecting your project so we’re just trying to be polite and let you know as nicely as possible that it’s a “no.”
If there is anything specific in your rejection letter — something that’s not a generic form letter — pay attention. Many agents will personalize slightly. They may say, “I did not find your fiction to be well-crafted enough for me to present it to a publisher.” Which means the agent thinks your writing needs work.
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