I had my first manuscript request and drank a few beers to celebrate, now I've received my first manuscript rejection and I plan on drinking a few beers to drown out my sorrows. The Coors brewing company must love me (this may be considered an insider tip if you are planning on buying stock)
However, the rejection was an extremely thoughtful rejection, so I'm trying not to take it too hard. Loved the plot, loved the title, but not in love with the voice. OK, I can understand that. I still have two partials out and about eight queries in the slush pile.
After receiving the kind rejection, I thought a lot about the agent practices I have encountered, and liked, which I would like to list below so we can improve the process for everyone.
1. Timely feedback - I know this isn't always a possibility due to the number of queries you receive, but it does keep us writers from going insane waiting...and waiting...and waiting...
2. Using our name and/or title of our book in the rejection - Even if the rest of the response is a form letter, this leads us to believe that you did in fact read our submission.
3. A reason for rejection - "I'm not completely in love with this project", "I don't have the time to commit to your project", "This isn't the right project for me". Even if it is vague, it's still something.
4. Constructive feedback - I know this is also difficult to do because of time constraints, however, pointing out things that you love or hate may help us when writing our next book, and that book may be one you'd like to rep.
5. Clear and consise submission guidelines on your website - I make a new query packet for each agent. Some pieces are copied and pasted from others, yes, but if an agent clearly outlines what they are looking for, I will include it. And hey, if you give us great guidelines and someone fails to follow them, then BAM, quick form-letter rejection. If a writer can't read, how do you expect them to write?