Tacky, tacky, tacky
This weekend I received the tackiest rejection letter to date, by far. I sent in only an email query–no synopsis, no material. This is the emailed reply, in its entirety:
You picked the wrong agent. No chick lit, no magic and no one who does not know that fiction novel is redundant.
[It was, of course, signed by the agent, nary a closing in sight]
I find this response wrong on so many levels. I would have been fine with a canned response–in fact, I expect that. I realize agents are overrun with submissions and have hardly any time for individual replies. But clearly, this one made time for me.
She mentions ‘no chick lit’, but I pulled the following list of acceptable categories for fiction submissions to this agent off of this agent’s profile page on Agent Query today:
Chick Lit | Mystery | Commercial Fiction | Women’s Fiction | Romance | Historical Fiction | Thrillers/Suspense | Adventure
Perhaps you can see how I might have been confused.
Her profile on Publisher’s Marketplace indicates these fiction categories:
GENRES & SPECIALTIES
General fiction, Mystery, Romance, Biography, Business/investing/finance, History, Health, Lifestyle, Cookbooks, Science
And her agency’s website says only this:
Agent X represents writers in many areas, including commercial women’s fiction, historical fiction, and mystery to biography, history, health, and lifestyle.
Nowhere that I can find is there a mention of ‘no chick lit’ or ‘no magic’.
Then there is her comment about my novel being redundant. Interesting. I’d be curious to know, not only which book I’m copying but how I’m expected even to be aware of it, what with the millions of books in print. I’ve queried quite a few agents over the last year or so, and a good number replied that they loved the idea and considered the premise unique and fun. Go figure.
You may be curious as to whether I wrote back. I did, but I kept myself in check, seeing as there were a great many things I would have liked to have said. I said only, “You might want to update your profile on Agent Query” (the one that specifies chick-lit). I also pasted in the info above. She wrote back almost immediately with the comment, “I did a while ago.” A second email from her showed me what she believed to be the updated info:
Action/Adventure, Commercial Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thrillers/Suspense, Women’s Fiction
Don’t know how the two of us are getting conflicting information, but either way, I consider this list inconclusive.
I really wanted to ask which novel(s) she had in mind when insisting that mine was redundant, but I didn’t. I think my husband said it best. He thought I should reply with, “You’re right. I did pick the wrong agent.”
And so the saga continues.