I read a scathing tweet a few days ago from a literary agent who had rejected a writer’s submission. Said author then had written a “snarky” reply to the literary agent. I can only imagine what the “snarky” reply was. If what I assumed from the agent’s tweet is correct, it was something along the lines of “thanks for nothing,” or worse.
My thoughts when I read this, you ask? One word: Why?
Why would this author who is attempting to get an agent send such a reply? If you are truly a professional, your reply should be professional. I’ve gotten rejections to lots of things. Jobs, being published, solos in choir in high school, etc. While I might be thinking sarcastic comments in my head, there’s no way any would ever escape my mouth. My response is always something along these lines: “Thank you for your consideration. Please keep me in mind for any opportunities in the future.” (Obviously, I’m not always this articulate when facing rejection, but I always manage the first part.)
Because the future is the point, right? What happens if this snarky author has another novel in the future and is again looking for an agent? Even if the novel is pretty good and would normally be something the agent would look at, do you think that the agent will even look at your novel when he or she sees that it was the same author who had originally sent a snarky reply in response to being given a pass on a previous novel? Really?
A query email is like a first impression. The agent probably didn’t know this person from anyone else on the street. After getting that snarky email (FYI, the definition of snarky is “sarcastic, impertinent and irreverent in tone or manner”) there’s no second chances.
Keep in mind when it comes to many rejections, no matter what it’s for, you yourself are not the one being rejected. I know it might feel like that when it’s your brain child. My writings are a big part of me and are near and dear to my heart. Still, when I get passed over, whether it’s an encouraging pass or an outright no, I am not the one being rejected. I recognize that. I’m able to say thank you and move on. Whether moving on requires a simple deep breath or a couple glasses of wine and a large chocolate bar doesn’t matter, because that’s afterward in private. The person offering that rejection won’t see it, and thus won’t be influenced in the future by any bad memories of me personally.
If you want to write professionally, you need to act like a professional. Be a professional and accept rejection gracefully.