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Old 12-18-2012, 05:34 AM   #1
JournoWriter
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It's Not You, It's Me

I was going through my latest round of rejections today, and noticed a common thread ... the words every dumpee hears at some point: "It's not you, it's me."

"Unfortunately we do not feel that we would be successful in marketing this work.”

"This project does not meet the current needs of our publishing program."

"We've concluded that [agency name] is not going to be the right fit for your project.”

“I’m afraid this doesn't seem like the right project for me.”

“Unfortunately, your project is not right for us at this time.”

"We are not the right agency for your work."

“This is not for me.”

“Your project doesn't appear to be a good fit for our list at this time.”

"Unfortunately I've decided that this project is not for me.”

“I don't feel I'm the right agent for this one.”

"We do not feel that it would be the best fit for our agency.”



All very proper and polite, just like the sympathetic let's-be-friends hug that the girl gives you when she's done stomping all over your heart ... OMG ... I'm that guy ...
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Old 12-18-2012, 04:09 PM   #2
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JournoWriter, those are all form Rs. I've got something like 170 of them in a file on my hard drive.

File 'em and send that puppy out again. Query and Conquer!
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:49 PM   #3
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You just gotta keep at it, JournoWriter. I wish you the best.

I haven't submitted my MS to anyone yet, but I'm sure I'll be seeing a lot of what you mentioned.

Personally, I would prefer a simple "no." I remember once I asked someone for something, and I was expecting a long-winded, polite excuse. Instead, he just said "no" and nothing else. I kinda appreciated the honest, concise, and straightforward quality of that.
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Old 12-21-2012, 01:43 AM   #4
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I prefer the right-to-the-point rejections as well. I received a form rejection once that was longer than my query. It rambled on about "We love all of our submitters and we couldn't survive without you and we read every query we get and give it our fullest attention but gosh the publishing industry is so hard and us agents are so overworked and the economy and blah blah blah". The whole thing was weird and kind of dumb.
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Old 12-21-2012, 02:33 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JournoWriter View Post
I was going through my latest round of rejections today, and noticed a common thread ... the words every dumpee hears at some point: "It's not you, it's me."

<snip>

All very proper and polite, just like the sympathetic let's-be-friends hug that the girl gives you when she's done stomping all over your heart ... OMG ... I'm that guy ...
It's more than proper and polite. It keeps them from getting sued if they come out and say anything specific and negative about your work. That kind of stupidity is not unknown, after all. So by saying "it's us, not you" is, well, CYA and means "No."

And it's not the same as the girl giving the hug because the girl (theoretically) knows you as a person. They don't have a clue who you are as a person. You tried to sell them a product and they aren't interested in buying it. No different than the lady in the grocery store trying to get you to taste a sample of whatever concoction's in her little disposable cups today. It's nothing personal at all.
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Old 12-21-2012, 06:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeleyanLee View Post
It's more than proper and polite. It keeps them from getting sued if they come out and say anything specific and negative about your work. That kind of stupidity is not unknown, after all. So by saying "it's us, not you" is, well, CYA and means "No."
Maybe, but in thirty-three years I've never known an agent or editor who was sued for saying something negative and specific, but I have known hundreds and hundreds of cases where agents and editors got very nasty.

I think it's more likely a simple case of "Don't call us, we'll call you." I know I don't want a writer writing or e-mailing to complain about what I said, or to disagree with it, or to make any uninvited contact at all, so "it's not you, it's me" forms are used to stop this from happening.
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Old 12-22-2012, 06:30 AM   #7
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I never have a problem with these kinds of responses. In my case, I'm pretty sure it's me, not them.

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Old 12-29-2012, 11:25 PM   #8
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In my case, I'm pretty sure it's me, not them.

+1

I appreciated this.
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