I was asked the other day - by a really sharp guy and a long time
client - if the agent who’d left a message on his machine asking
for a call-back might be getting in touch to say thanks,
but no thanks. OF COURSE NOT!
Unless you are a dewy-eyed, pink-skinned, chubby-cheeked
born-yesterday baby, you have probably received your share of rejection
notices before coming to this page. They range from abrupt to
downright rude - and they almost always are lies in the form of, for
example, we’re not taking on any new fiction just now… How do
we know that’s a lie? Because of all the times we’re told that
when the day before we placed a client with a debut novel
with the same agent. Not even the most calloused of bitches or
bastards in the agent world would take the trouble to leave a message
on your machine so they can deliver the probably lying kiss off viva-voce.
So two points:
One - however the rejection is worded, it always means the same
thing. “We’re just not that into you. Your query didn’t
excite us and we don’t want to waste time looking at more.”
Always. No exceptions. This may be about the concept
- the agent can’t see how to sell the book, because it’s too
different from everything out there. Or too much like everything
out there. More often it’s because the writing wasn’t
wonderful. In publishing only wonderful makes it to the next rung
of the ladder. Good isn’t good enough.
Two: A phone call means the agent is interested.
He/she is going to talk about representation straight away, or about
revisions. As in are you willing to make them.
So, say you say sure (I don’t think you’re likely to say anything else), does that mean you’ve got an agent?
Watch this space.