Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Ne'er Ne'er Letter



Wonder how many writers have thought about sending one - and then wisely refrained.
Wonder how many writers have actually sent one.
Some do, obviously.
The topic comes up every now and then, whenever agents/editors explain why they choose generic form letters.
The impulse would be strongest, one supposes, if a writer received a personal and very cutting rejection.
I suspect rejections of that type are an extremely rare occurance.
Agents and editors don't have time to waste for detailed repudiation.
"Not right for us" often means simply that.
And it might deflate a "ne'er-ne'er" correspondent if they understood that any agent/editor's reaction on receiving such a letter would be "who the hell is this?"
However, they might remember you now - and not to your advantage.
If you've achieved success elsewhere, they'll read about it in market place magazines anyway.
So remove your thumb from your 8-year old nose.
The problem may arise out of the beginner's perception that agents/editors are terrestrial versions of Saint Peter - with keys to paradise as well as a little golden book.
Gentle writer, they are business people.
They make their living assessing the market and picking those manuscripts which they hope and believe will sell.
They pick manuscripts according to their experience and their contacts.
They don't pretend to be pub gods - that's a pedestal you created, not them - so put your chisel back in the drawer.
Such "nyah,nyah" accounts always makes me wonder if the writers who send them are lacking in comprehension, are bereft of empathy and the capacity to visualize agent/editor's daily functions.
If so, if they lack the ability to put themselves in the agent/editor's milieu, one has to wonder about their writing.
Be that as it may.
Success, after all, is the best revenge.

NOTICE: Jason will open his short fiction contest today. Two Lights. Enter. Have fun!

12 comments:

Sela Carsen said...

I'd had NQD with an agent for three months when I sold it to Samhain. I attempted to reach her several times, but the last time I asked to remove NQD from her roster because it was now sold. I worked for nearly an hour to frame that 6 line e-mail so it wouldn't sound neener-neener because I truly didn't intend for it to be. She responded to that final message with a gracious "thanks for letting me know." If only she'd answered all my previous correspondence...

Bernita said...

Neer, neer letters are those sent when one has been previously rejected, as I understand it.
Your letter was simply proper, professional courtesy.

Savannah Jordan said...

I've seen this from the editor's side of the fence, and know it well.

I rejected a mss because it needed work, plain and simple. The author, already pubbed in another genre, had to write back with a WTF kind of letter. He went from courting the agency to veritable slander. Some author's just don't know how to handle rejection.

Similarly, the agent failed to place an author she represented. When the author pubbed the text through a vanity press she sent a 'neener neener' email in the form of a press release. Pitiful, petty and childish behavior.

I wonder sometimes why people can't grow up, "remove head from sphincter" and then write.

Dennie McDonald said...

are you kidding -- I can't find the time to write what I am supposed to - to take the time to do that would probably explode my brain! (not that it isn't already fried enough now!)

Bernita said...

The idea of you, Dennie, with an exploding brain, boggles. Only little brains explode.
But that's a good point. Who has time to be childish?

A vanity publication?
That is so sad, it cringes, Savannah.
The other sounds like plain vanity.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

I've only queried once...and was rejected once...

Reason: They said I was too'edgy' for their woman's fiction line. In reading several more books, I've figured that I needed to put in in an action/suspense catagory rather than women's fiction.

So I don't have a ne'er ne'er situation yet...all that to say, I don't know how I'd act, but I hope I'd resist the urge!

Bernita said...

"Edgy" might be just what another publisher might want, Bonnie, though changing the category can help.
And I can't see you being silly.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Changing the catqagory definitely helps, and I have a list for when I'm ready...

Silly...I dunno'...I've done some prtty hairbrained things in my life. I just pray for a calm spirit!

Ballpoint Wren said...

Savannah, that is like, the scariest avatar I have ever seen!


On the topic at hand: You know that saying of Ben Franklin's? "Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other."

I've learned from experience: never burn bridges.

I don't see Bonnie C as a silly woman, either. She tells a good joke, though!

Bernita said...

Yep,Wren, some people like to play with matches though.
I've seen Bonnie take criticism with grace, so I don't have any doubts.
And Bonnie's one of those you'd like to have keeping your back when the knives come out.

Savannah Jordan said...

Bonnie~

LMAO!! I thought she was rather evocative of Licia and her pain...

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Okay you got me, Savannah..."Licia and her pain"?????