Post-Christmas Snark

It’s the day after Christmas, and I’m feeling cranky and irritable. I sure don’t feel like cleaning up and storing saved gift bags and boxes in the basement crawl space. Every year we save them in the name of recycling, but many don’t get used, so it’s a false do-good feeling. Nor do I feel like putting the good dishes away and removing the red tablecloth from the dining room table. The gifts I don’t need now have to take up spaces in my life. Bah-humbug.

So, in this frame of mind, I thought I’d write about a pet peeve: agents and publishers who leave authors hanging by not responding to their queries and submissions. Oh yes, I know they say they are swamped, but in the digital age, it seems not too much to ask for them to create a system that will send out a form email rejection with the click of a mouse. Some say if they haven’t responded in, say, three months, to assume that they’re not interested, but, to me, that doesn’t really compensate for lack of a response. Authors anguish at length over their creations, and a lack of response–even an impersonal rejection–seems to me a lack of respect for their efforts (which, by the way, provide agents and publishers with their livelihoods).

I like to know that my submission didn’t go astray and get lost in some kind of pile or stuck to someone else’s submission with spilled coffee or grease smears. I like to know it has been given some thought. (I needn’t know how fleeting that thought might have been.) And when I get a rejection, I can always comfort myself by thinking that agents and publishers often have have been wrong in their judgments. See 50 Iconic Writers Who Were Repeatedly Rejected.

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