My newest favorite rejection letter came in today, beating out last month’s poorly Xeroxed form letter, which also came complete with a poorly Xeroxed signature. My new favorite is but a third of a sheet of paper, hearkening me back to the days of zoo trips, bag lunches and permission slips. This brief missive bears a polite dismissal from an individual I can’t quite recall querying. The bottom quarter of the “page” states this mystery rejector’s typed name and is concluded with the slightly stuffy title of “Proprietor.”
For whatever reason, this letter–and it’s honorific–reminds me of a day this past summer when a man with a cooler bungee strapped to the back of his old Toyota pickup rolled up in front of my house, banged on the door and announced, “I’m the manager.” I eyed the battered toy truck and the thick white plastic leaking thankfully clear fluid out of the dropped tailgate and decided, despite my curiosity, I didn’t really want to know just what he was the manager of. I suspect, though, he was either selling half-turned goat meat, or was the proposed manager of my grisly, chopped-up, cooler-stuffed demise. Either way I wasn’t much interested (hey, kinda like how the above Proprietor wasn’t interested in me) and I sent him on his way with a firm locking of my deadbolt. Sometimes a title does little in the redemption department.
At any rate, I seem to be downgrading in responses. As I mentioned before, my first rejection letter was personal and kind–a phenomena I’m only just realizing the value of. Then came the parade of bad copies. Now, I’m receiving mere fragments of paper. Maybe next I’ll get a Post-It, or even better, a Spartan “No,” scrawled on the back of a chewing gum wrapper.
As usual with me, though, I find this wave of negativity more inciting than any potential kindness. Telling me I’m not good enough is the one thing that will make me dig in my heels. Thanks to Mr. Proprietor, the rest can scrawl, “No!” on every printable surface they can uncover and mail them all back to me at my considerable expense. Like Mulder planting the yard flamingo in the neighborhood from Hell, all I have to say is, “Bring it on.”
December 14th, 2007 at 1:15 am
Middle Ditch — Thanks for stopping by. It seems rather masochistic to keep the letters at this point, yet I do it anyway.My fingers are prepared.
December 13th, 2007 at 6:48 pm
Oh yes, those rejection letters. keep ‘m and date ‘m.One day you can stick up your fingers at them.
December 13th, 2007 at 4:37 am
Absolutely, Steve. I think that very concept hit me a couple of rejections ago. I don’t want anyone to look at my manuscript and think, “Man, I have to deal with this today. If they’re not balls-to-the-wall crazy over my work, then I don’t want them.
December 12th, 2007 at 8:31 pm
I sorta missed what I was going to say there: this process is about finding the *right* agent for your work. Like dating, a ‘yes’ is the last thing you want from the worng person. I’m really glad you’re keeping on!
December 12th, 2007 at 8:29 pm
Keep plugging, bud. You’ll make it. I’m often glad I’m not an actor. Those poor folks have to stand alone on a stage and get rejected in person!
December 12th, 2007 at 7:05 pm
Thanks, Spy. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the part of living in a smaller town where people just blatantly trust others not to kill or rob them. I’m more of the demand-identification-through-the-door type.
December 12th, 2007 at 4:21 am
Yay for you! You have such a great attitude. “I’m the manager?” That is absolutely bizarre. I’d be like, Um, no. My house. The only manager here is me!
December 11th, 2007 at 8:06 pm
Jay — Since I thought he was selling goat meat, it seems you’d be in more trouble than I.Charles — I haven’t seen that cartoon, but I need it. I’m keeping a log of everything I do: the agency queried, when the package went out, what was in it–including the version number of the query or synopsis (I’m up to two), the date it was delivered, the estimated time for a response, and the status of my query to date. I’m too obsessive not to do it like that.
December 11th, 2007 at 4:01 pm
I love the Snoopy cartoon where he gets a rejection letter that says: “Please don’t ever send us anything again.” To this, Snoopy thinks: “I love it when they beg.”Are you keeping a list of rejectors? Some day it might come in handy.
December 11th, 2007 at 4:53 am
Keep your sense of humour, and keep the faith. Your day will come.And never, ever let “managers” inside your house!