Could I Respond Back with “Pretty Please?”

I sent out some queries to agents on Saturday. I found an agency that I missed last year, so I queried them for both books simultaneously. Per their submission guidelines, I sent roughly the first 25 pages of each.

I got this response Monday morning, at 9:45:

“Thank you very much for submitting your query to [our agency]. After careful consideration, we have decided not to pursue your project.

“Again, many thanks for the opportunity to read your work. We hope that you find a suitable agent.”

I suppose that it’s possible they checked their emails over the weekend, but I’m guessing that they came into work Monday morning and answered my inquiry. I thought, “Wow! I could never work with an agency that is so efficient that they can give ‘careful consideration’ to two 25-page excerpts. I could not live up to their standards.”

Seriously, I understand the expediency of form letters, but, if this is possible, I appreciate tailor-made rejection more than the generic kind. I would actually value something more along the lines of “We think you should just give up” or “I was actually rooting against your character in the chapter you sent” than platitudinous comments like “While we think there may be a market for your work…” or “This is just not the right project for me at the moment.”

Two ideas come to mind:

1) I would like to have a friend who will never publish anything submit a horrible proposal or writing sample and see if they receive the same feedback. That would be a riot to submit 25 pages of “ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY!” and receive feedback that acknowledges “The value of your work…”

2) The agents’ websites usually have their pictures on them. In the extremely remote chance that I ever run into and recognize one of them, I would like to ask them for something to see how they respond.

“You know, darling, I would sure like to take you out for dinner sometime. Could I get your number?”

“I appreciate your interest in buying me dinner and possibly having intercourse with me. Unfortunately, I simply have too many people that I’m eating and sleeping with at the moment to take on any more suitors.”


“Excuse me sir, could you spare a dollar?”

“In today’s changing economic climate, giving you a dollar is just not the right kind of charity for me at this time. Best of luck with your future panhandling!”

3 thoughts on “Could I Respond Back with “Pretty Please?”

  1. About twenty years ago, I was looking for an agent or a publisher. There was a rule, a gentleman’s rule, that you would not contact more than one agent or publisher at a time. After ten or twelve rejections I thought ‘sod it!’ and contacted them all at the same time. Not one said yes. But I kept going.

    • The most demanding request I’ve seen at the outset was to let them know everyone you’re querying. Pretty early in my quest last year, I had an agency ask for exclusive reading rights last year for 6-8 weeks. I was elated. They turned me down about 12-15 weeks later, thereby stalling my quest. Knowing what I know now, I would maybe agree but still continue sending out queries. Or perhaps I’d be honest.

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