Monday, March 21, 2016

"You're gonna be sorreeeee"

Today, a query writer replied to my form rejection with "will think of you when the project gets picked up."
Which demonstrates the writer certainly has bravado and confidence, and also demonstrates s/he doesn't know how to control it.

Because when you say that to me, what I hear is "you're gonna be sorry you didn't take this on" and frankly no one responds well to that kind of comment. I certainly don't.

Now here's the part that's hard for people to remember when they're in the query trenches: one of these days you're going to get OUT, you're going to have a published book, and you're going to need readers. And people to buzz about your book.

And you may not want or get me as your agent, but I'm still someone you probably wouldn't mind having in your corner when you need to find readers.

And if you've said something like "neener neener, you're going to be sorry" to me, the chances of that happening are the chances of hell freezing over (even with global warming.)

And it's not because I keep some sort of blacklist of people I'll never ever be nice to again.
No indeed.

Here's what you didn't remember: I pass on books I like. I pass on books I like a lot. I pass on books that are not only publishable, I pass on books that DO get published.

Not all good books are right for me. I'm not the right agent for every good book.

That means I can and DO talk about books I've passed on after they're published, with things like "this is a terrific book." Which might be something you want said about YOUR book, no?

So, what to do?
Before you reply to rejection letters with anything but "thank you for taking a look" remember agents and editors are READERS too.

Be extra careful what you say about the query process in public forums. And MORE careful in private forums. If you don't think we see all those comments, you don't understand how much people like to talk.

This is the EXACT reason I never reply to queries with "you suck" even if I think the book does. There are a dozen books selling quite nicely that I think are utter dreck, and if you think I want MY rejection letter on any of those authors' website** you underestimate the size of my ego!

**I've attended several conferences and one awards banquet that featured authors reading their rejection letters. I was praying the entire time one of them wasn't from me. 


Carolynnwith2Ns said...

BTW Janet did I ever tell you how wonderful you are in an educational kind of wonderful way. I respect how wonderfully firm you are regarding your resolve in the face of this writer's inexperience.
We look to you, dear shark, with respect and wonder for your expertise. If ever I were to query you, (I think I did a few dozen times even though you don't handle my kind of stuff), it is with wonder that I would cherish your response.
Your 100 word flash fiction contests sure do warm the cockles of this writer's heart. And of course, how could I forget the WIR, every Reiders favorite weekly roundup. It's just wonderful.
With humility, I bow to you, our dear queen.

Did I mention how much I love, love, love your wonderful choices of paint colors.

(Ah, walking in brown stuff and scraping it from my nose if kinda hard on a Monday.)

nightsmusic said...

You know that old saying, don't cut off your nose to spite your face? This is the perfect example.

"I'm going to point out to her that she'll be sorry. Then when I get published, I'll just rub her nose in it."

I'd love to know a few years from now if the book ever did get published. Then again, karma can be a wonderful thing and maybe we'll never see it...

Sorry, still not feeling good and in a bad mood. But really, when you think about it, the time you, oh QOTKU takes to read what's sent to you is similar to volunteer work. You don't get paid to read everything that comes in the door. You're volunteering your time to do that in the hope that you'll find that eventual best seller in the bunch. So if they feel they have to reply, and I'm a firm believer that they shouldn't, then a nice thank you should suffice. Not an "I'm a spoiled child and you'll be sorry." Just makes no sense.

Lucie Witt said...

Whoa. Not sure which is harder for me to imagine - writing a snarky response to a rejection or sharing rejection letters in a public forum!

The only situation I can imagine sharing rejection letters is if the agent was really rude, sexist/racist/homophobic, or unnecessarily dream crushing. For example, I think friend of the reef Brooks Sherman took on a client after an agent told her books about girl pirates are dead and she wasted her time on her book. I'd share that kind of thing, but even then, anonymously. (Side note - the author, Heidi Schulz shouts out this blog and how awesome Janet is in her how-I-got-my-agent blog post).

I can only guess that people who burn bridges in the publishing world have no idea how small this community is and how you have to take a lot of bridges to get everywhere you go.

Anonymous said...

Lucie, some writers in the query trenches find it comforting to hear that successful writers have been rejected, too. So, it comes across to me as a, "Here, let me show you how much people didn't want to work with me but I'm successful anyway," kind of deal. It's a surprisingly common myth that if you're successful, you don't or didn't deal with rejection.

But quite apart from how things work in the publishing industry, the kind of email like in today's blog post is just plain childish. Like my English students who mock my native pronunciation. Aw, are you mocking me to make yourself feel better for failing at learning a new language? I'm sure you didn't even register that I speak your language, so had to go through the same process and managed not to insult the people teaching it to me along the way.

Jeanne said...

Your rejection to me was thoughtful and nice, as were most of the rejections I have received since I started querying. One was only four words, but that's okay--it was a response. I did not email agents back with a thank you because I thought it would just be something else for the agent to open and read. So here it is, to all the agents who read my query and responded--Thank you. P.S. I'm working on book two...

Lucie Witt said...

Lucia, I completely agree and I've long been comforted by published writers tales from the query trenches and rejection stats. To me, though, reading an identified or alluded to agent's actual letter is different (not in all forms, places like query tracker are their own thing).

Colin Smith said...

For some reason, the song "Who's Sorry Now" played through my head as I read this.

Sorry to share another Bouchercon anecdote (maybe when I get out to some other major book/writer events, I'll have more stories to tell), but if anyone doubts the kind of reach Janet has, they just need to hang out with her for a few hours at such an event. I can't begin to tell you how many writers, editors, and other industry pros would greet her with anything from a "Hello Janet!" to a hug (some dared!). She's been at this a while, and there are some notable rising and established agents who have either interned with her, or shared office space with her (Brooks Sherman and Suzie Townsend, for example). In other words, show some respect, if not because that's the right and decent thing to do, then because you never know when she might be having drinks with your Dream Agent.

Anonymous said...

Hm, I didn't get the impression that the agents were actually identified. Janet saying she squirmed hoping one wasn't hers sounded like hearing her own words of rejection attached to the book would be squirm-worthy, not necessarily that the author was telling everyone, "Janet Reid rejected me and had this to say:". Identifying the rejecting agents does seem to be a dick move, yeah.

Lucie Witt said...

Good point Lucia, just because I practically feel like I have each and every agent's form rejection memorized doesn't make then recognizable without a name attached :)

Lisa Bodenheim said...

I can't imagine writing the "you'll be sorry" email or reading a rejection letter along with agent's name as a published author. Both types of responses feel hubristic. (Although it is helpful to know, vaguely, how many rejections published authors received.) Of course, I'm still a wee woodland critter trying to find her way through her first novel.

This just goes to show how important it is to have a thick skin, to detach and depersonalize, within this whole realm of getting published. Thank goodness our Shark has thick skin but still retains the passion to show us the do's and don'ts of moving toward publication.

Thank you, Le Sharque. And here's a whisky for all you do.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

You say, "...the writer certainly has bravado and confidence."
I say, "that writer is an ass hat."

Which begs me to ask, is ass hat one word, two or hyphenated.

Dena Pawling said...

>>Today, a query writer replied to my form rejection with "will think of you when the project gets picked up."

Altho I would NEVER respond to a query rejection like that, there are quite a few people [including agents, including Janet] that I WILL think of when my project gets picked up. Here's how I expect my thoughts to go –

“Because of you, my project got picked up.”
“I'm thankful and grateful for your help.”
“I wouldn't be here without you.”

I don't think I'll read my rejection letters in public, but I'll definitely identify in public those people who helped me get there.

DLM said...

I actually did respond to a rejection once with a wry "I want to be the one who got away", but that was NOT at the initial query stage, it was after the agent had seen the MS in two versions - had, indeed, made it a better MS - and they responded with a smiling "Yep, can't wait either, best of luck!"

Sometimes, you can get to REALLY like an agent, even as you learn on both sides it's not going to be. (It took me rather longer to learn that the novel just isn't a going concern at all. SIGH.)

Just yesterday, I received a very nice rejection on a query. Those of y'all who've been around a minute know: I haven't sent out a query in a YEAR. At least she apologized, and didn't just leave it entirely undone ... !

Janet Reid said...

Dena, the difference is when "I'll think of you" has "thank you" somewhere in the sentence. This particular letter was clearly "you're a dim bulb not to appreciate my work"

Colin Smith said...

Diane: Isn't it nice when someone you thought might be a NORMAN turns out not to be? Cool... well, in terms of getting a response, not in terms of it being a rejection. That's not so cool. But still... :)

BTW, I'm still waiting for NORMAN to become an official publishing term. *GASP* No wonder! It's not even in The Glossary! How will it become trade parlance if it's not there?! :)

Dena Pawling said...

Janet - very true. My response would definitely be something like "I'll think of you with gratitude" and not "neener neener." With the letter you're describing, I'll bet you were also thinking about how glad you were that you did send a rejection instead of a request. Doesn't sound like a client you'd want.


Colin Smith said...

Sorry--for the newbies: NORMAN = NO Response MeAns No. An agent described as a "NORMAN" is one who expressly states that s/he will only respond to those queries s/he is interested in pursuing. Not a practice endorsed by QOTKU.

Sherry Howard said...

Often responses from people in distress or disappointment let us know we've dodged a bullet by not being involved with them. Bullet dodged with that writer, not someone you'd want as a client.

nightsmusic said...

2Ns, asshat. No hyphen, no space. Just so you know. ;)

RachelErin said...

Most people who are successful are more generous than average, with their time, expertise, and kindness. (Actually there is some great social science arguing that givers are the bottom and top of the success pile, with takers and "matchers" in the middle).

For every story about diva rock stars or movie stars (or writers), there are dozens who have touched all their colleagues with kindness and support (Alan Rickman comes to mind because he recently passed away). When I was working with pro actors (theater, not movie), the ones with stable careers were healthy, well-read, and unbelievably kind. And strong. Very strong.

I wonder if it matters most in highly competitive industries. The competition and struggle can bring out the dirty streaks on our soul. Those who cling to the light shine even brighter.

I wonder what the difference is between the givers who end up on the bottom and those who end up on the top.

Stacy said...

I've been freelancing a long time. It boggles my mind anyone would behave this way. I can attest to there being such a thing as serendipity. As a freelancer, I have had to rely on it many a time. I think it's part of our job as writers to try to generate as much of this as we can. The kind of behavior described in the post WILL come back to bite those writers in the patootie.

Adib Khorram said...

I hope I haven't been operating under bad information, but it has been my understanding that at the query stage, there's no need to reply to a rejection at all, unless it was a personalized/helpful one (in which case you should say thank you). Otherwise, even short "thank you" notes to form rejections can quickly add up and clog an agent's inbox.

Now I hope I haven't been inadvertently rude.

The woodland creature brain is at it again.

Theresa said...

My first thought was that this was a person who doesn't know that snarky responses are meant to be written to make you feel momentarily better, then are deleted unsent. Always. Then I thought, no, this person probably knows that and sent it anyway, because...personality.

Decades ago, my father tried to get some stories published that he'd written about the Korean War. He didn't know anything about agents, so he sent them directly to an editor at a major publishing house. The editor sent them back, with a note saying the stories were really good, compared them favorably to Norman Mailer, but didn't think there was a market for them. My father stuck the stories in a drawer and gave up because one professional told him he wasn't publishable. It never occurred to him to write a neener neener back. Or to do anything else.

I'm over my limit and have strayed a bit from the topic, but Janet's post got me thinking about over confidence and snarkiness v. no confidence. Both can stop a writing career before it starts.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

I've worked with people, frequently the general public, in every job I've had. While I'm not surprise, per se, to learn new wrinkles of bizarre/ridiculous/more or less unacceptable behavior, I still look askance.

Example: a couple of weeks ago, a patron for some reason pulled one of those business reply envelopes from a library trash can. There was a dead mouse in it. Then they could not conceive of any other scenario than "a person was going to mail this dead mouse to somebody and changed their mind". After about ten minutes of listening to this patron go back and forth with my coworker, I finally weighed in with "How about you just stop taking things out of the garbage and it won't bother you." And so the poor mousie returned to its erstwhile graveyard.

So there we have it. At least somebody didn't mail you a dead mouse in response to your rejection.

DeadSpiderEye said...

Do you know what, it's that first one that sticks in your mind, that day you learnt that the world isn't full of people brimming with eager lust to devour the fruits of your cornucopia of talent. So that's the guy I think of, although it would be better if I could think about it on a beach somewhere, while attended by waitresses in bikinis, bearing daiquiris made with fruit freshly plucked from the vine and flown in by seaplane. 'I'm thinking of you...' while scraping the change together to buy a burger, doesn't quite cut it.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

It seems strange to me that any knowledgeable writer would respond to a form rejection. I do actually frame mine as I am so grateful to get a response, any response and I wish to record my journey through the query trenches. Those query letters are hard work. I do not, however, reply to form rejections. Not even with a thanks for your time because I already thanked the agent for his or her time in the query. As for the writer that responded with this kind of gobbly-de-gook, I do not respond well to arrogance like that myself. I would not blame an agent for being somewhat offended by this. Basically, it seems writer wants to shoot him or herself in the foot. Rejection is just part of the process. Even Harry Potter was rejected a number of times before finding a home.

Lucie Witt said...

Adib, that's what I've always thought. I NEVER reply to forms. Personalized get a brief (as in would fit in a tweet) thank you.

S.D.King said...

Whoa - I would say Janet dodged a bullet there.

Who wants to work with someone like that? If that is their response after a rejected query, I imagine that person is just as difficult and repulsive in everyday matters. I have known a few and would never want my signature on a contract of any kind with them.

Life is just too short to spend it in anger.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Short OFF-TOPIC: Another thanks to this blog and all the Reiders hanging out in the reef. Janet and all of you are such a comfort to me. And right now, I really need it. I really appreciate reading what everyone has to say on each topic Janet presents us with. It helps me try and refocus.

My aunt, the one with the horses who I talk about a lot on this blog, had a massive stroke about 10 days ago. She is now in Hospice care and we don’t expect her to make it another 24 hours. I have been posting about this in my blog, and it is the only writing I have been getting done for the last couple of weeks. I am devastated.

My aunt is huge inspiration to me, always has been. I really thought she would live forever which I know is stupid. None of us get out of here alive. Still, four days before her stroke, she hosted a huge dinner party and was the same fierce and gracious woman I have always known. Five years ago, she had a heart valve transplant, and was literally back on her horse within weeks of the operation. She has always truly seemed a force of nature to me. Indeed, bigger than life. Anyhow, my family and I are reeling from this. And I know it sounds selfish, but I can’t stand that she won’t be around to read my books. She was always so encouraging, so patient with me. She is the mother of my cousin, Elizabeth Musser, who is a much published and lauded author so Aunt Barbara understood about this writing bug, and she encouraged me, always asking and enthusiastically answering any questions I had, especially on the matter of horses. Anyway, this is going to hurt like Hell.

Colin Smith said...

E.M.: Big virtual hugs to you. So so sorry. :(

DLM said...

2Ns and Colin, I've been altering it altogether to "hat of assness" or simply thinking to myself, "Your chapeau, it has a sphincter in it."

But then I am a smart of assness.

EMG, I have had an Aunt Barb of my own; it has long fascinated me what warm, talented, generous, and supportive women Aunties Barb always seem to be. May her warmth stay with you all - it sounds as if she's provided a long supply.

Hating that someone like that won't be here to read your work: I feel this way about my dad so frequently. It was for decades a joke in my family, "Someone should write a book" about this silly cultural thing or that learn-y thing. He never knew I did finally complete one. He never even knew I started.

Except that he does. And, believe it or not: that actually is enough.

nightsmusic said...

EM, I'm so sorry to hear that. Huge hugs to you and yours.

Karen McCoy said...

So sorry, EM!

All the ugh. This person. Can they stop making this person?

At Silicon Valley Comic Con this weekend, there was an army of this kind of "neener neener" mentality, mostly from people with VIP passes.

The Christopher Lloyd line didn't move, and the poor man was ushered to this photo op, and that panel, and back, and forth. Those of us who didn't get a signature were asked to come back at the end of the day. No problem.

Cut to later that afternoon, standing near the VIP line. Aside from the guy there to get 15 things signed, including what looked like two home-made flux capacitors and three duplicate books, there was a lady complaining that there were five or so people ahead of her in line, people with curved spines and flat feet from waiting hours in line earlier that day (flux capacitor guy wasn't one of them). She said, "They're not VIP. They should let us in first. That's what VIP is for." I fumed, but retained my civility.

Very luckily, we were the last ones in before Mr. Lloyd was dragged to yet another photo op. I told him how much we appreciated his time, and thanked him for the photo he signed for my brother's upcoming birthday. The poor man was exhausted, but he smiled, shook my hand, and said, "You're welcome."

So, what Dena said. A simple thank you does wonders, even if you get in line first.

**Minor plural typo: and if you think I want MY rejection letter on any of those authors' websites**

Mister Furkles said...

"I'm not the right agent for every good book."

People in business understand this. It means the client will have greater success with another. I used to be a consultant and turned down good assignments because the client needed somebody more suited to it than I.

I wonder why writers assume that every agent and editor are stamped out of the same mold.

Bethany Elizabeth said...

As a mixed-metaphor kind of person, my philosophy is "burn that bridge when you come to it." Don't gloat that someone is going to be sorry before you've succeeded. That's just silly.

Also, in all seriousness, I would never ever send a 'you'll be sorry/look what you missed out on' even if I became the next Martin or Sanderson. No way. There are good, wonderful people who reject work for dozens of reasons.

Back to being silly: DLM reminded me of a game my friends and I would play. Whenever adjective-ass noun was used (big-ass test, nice-ass car, kickass hat) we would switch the hyphen (big ass-test, nice ass-car, kick the asshat).

And back to seriousness - E.M., I'm so sorry for the heartbreak you're going through right now. It's not selfish to be sad that she won't read your books, either. You only want to share the things you love with the people you love - that isn't selfish. Your family is in my prayers and thoughts.

Cindy C said...

E.M., so sorry to hear about your aunt. All the wonderful memories you have of her won't erase the pain, but eventually they will help dull the edges.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Thank you guys so much. I just got the call. My aunt has passed away. She is truly home now.

Unknown said...

2n's - I believe ass hat is very different than asshat. After all, one of those idiots is wearing a hat.

RachelErin- I know some asshats on top and plenty on the bottom. I think it just depends on the willingness of others to put up with you. But I also have seen a lot of the right people win. That makes me happy.

E.M. - so sorry to hear about your aunt! Will be praying for you and yours.

Lucie Witt said...

I'm so sorry E.M.
You're in my thoughts and prayers.

JulieWeathers said...


I am so very sorry to hear about your aunt. I haven't been following anything much. I thought it was because I didn't feel good, but I finally realized last night the anniversary of Dad's death is upon me. Believe me when I say, I wish I could hold you and let you cry into my shoulder. Then, we'd go find a Ouizer pillow punch it because life is so rotten at times.

I'm here when you need to talk. My email is on my blog contact. In the meantime, prayers for comfort and peace go up.


John Frain said...

Oh yes, the rules of life don't apply to some people. Like this querier. Probably the same person who cut you off in traffic and blamed you because they're running late.

I feel sorry for them because they're missing out on a lot of nice people who could probably offer them some good advice if they'd take a moment away from their narcissistic lives to listen. But nobody's patient enough to wait for that moment.

EM: Sounds to me like Aunt Barbara will live on through some of your family members. And that might be all she needs.

Unknown said...

I wanted to take a moment to admit a dangerous thing. On one particular occasion, on a very bad day when I was in a dark and desperate place, a personalized rejection rubbed me the wrong way and I got hooked.

I know, I know, a big no no on my part.

It wasn't a long exchange. I'm sure the agent was giving helpful advice by telling me my plot could really use some work. It just hit me at the wrong time, and I replied with something snide. The agent came back with something equally snide, and I'm sure I made the blacklist for that agent's spam folder.

At the end of the day, I bit when I shouldn't have. It didn't go well. I did know better. And I shouldn't have done it. But life goes on.So if you're sitting there thinking "Shit...I really wish I had read this post 4.23 minutes ago before I hit reply to that form rejection..." -- just take a deep breath and keep going. We get caught up in this stuff sometimes, the do's and dont's, but even when you're well informed, you might still eff it up once in a while.

Life isn't over. Keep writing. Keep querying. Buy shark insurance. :)

nightsmusic said...

Oh, EM, I'm so sorry.

JulieWeathers said...

When I started sending out Dancing Horses, I received a ton of requests. It was a great idea for a story. I was just a terrible writer at the time. Well, maybe not terrible, but not very good. Agents loved the story, but it was like a man marrying a woman by proxy and realizing he should have put something in the ad about non-bearded ladies only.

Then you have the Colonial naked wedding, which bares all, sort of like a bad manuscript.

That was me. I was in a Colonial naked wedding and the groom said, "Uh, it's not you, really it's me," several times. Some of them were very sweet and gave me flowery speeches before they fled. No one was mean. Thank you, Lord Jesus. I saved all of the rejection letters. I miss the paper rejections. It's so much easier to wallpaper your office with paper rejections than emails. I particularly loved it when they doodled. Agents doodles are the best.

I still think it's a good story with bursts of great writing. Unfortunately, manuscripts needs to be an entire story of great writing.

The thing is, you never know what any person is going through. You might think you're justified to chew out the clerk who's taking forever to check you out, but what if she's working because she needs the money while she's worrying about a sick child at home? It only takes you a moment to bury your irritation and say something encouraging to a stranger.

That agent you're about to fire a nasty remark off to is also a human (unless they're a shark). I'm sure they get nasty remarks all the time, but why be the person who heaps on when you don't need to?

Sit down with a glass of sweet tea and think about it. Do you really want to write that snarky email?

Guerilla kindness really is contagious. Why not be the flashpoint of kindness in someone's day?

Lisa Bodenheim said...

E.M. I'm so sorry. Wishing you and your family comfort and peace. Beloved memories will remain alive and well with all of you.

Adib Khorram said...

EM, I'm so sorry for your loss. I will be thinking of you and your family.

Stacy said...

I am so sorry, E.M. Peace to you.

french sojourn said...

E.M. Sorry for your loss, it seems to be going around in my house lately as well. OOOf! tough times...but be strong and as I try to do, and think how much of a better person your are because of the people that made a dent in your life. I know I would have lived a pretty monochromatic life were it not for a handful of really great influences. My life is technicolor galore due to so many people that took the time to teach me life 101.

And on the topic of mommies little soldier's comment due to the rejection, I imagine that had QOTKU liked the work enough, she may have recommended it to another agent...Karma is a female dog, pal.

Cheers Hank

Brian M. Biggs said...

E.M. Thank you for sharing and I send you thoughts of love and kindness. My wife finds comfort in her horses when something like this happens. Maybe you can give yourself and your aunt's horses comfort at this time.

Janet, I thought your rejection letter was supportive and positive. During my teaching career I always told the new teachers to make VERY VERY NICE with the secretaries and the custodians. So many ways they can help you out of a jam.

Joseph S. said...


I just prayed for your Aunt Barbara and for you and Elizabeth Musser and your families.

I wish I had known your Aunt Barbara; and I appreciate your letting me learn a little bit about her.

BJ Muntain said...

A lot of writers really don't get it. Every person is a potential reader until they're not. Being arrogant or otherwise unlikable is one way to get a reader from potential to not.

Other forms this takes:

- "I don't care about readers." Or, "I don't care who reads my work." Often heard from certain self-published authors.
- "I only write these books my fans love because the publisher wants to pay me money for them." - Piers Anthony (not his exact words, but close)
- Pretty much anything that shows a lack of respect for anyone

These things make me not want to read their books. I stopped reading Piers Anthony after reading that he didn't care about the readers that got him where he was. I used to be a big fan. Not anymore, not at all.

I recently had a chance to chat with Robert J. Sawyer, a Canadian science fiction author. He's not perfect (who is?) but he's always very gracious to everyone. If you mention having met him in the past, he'll say something like, "I enjoyed meeting you" or "Thank you for [whatever]" - even if you can tell that he doesn't remember you. (When someone does more than 50 workshops/appearances/readings per year, it can be hard to remember people met in those places.) I've never been a fan of the harder science fiction, but I'm planning to get his newest novel, just because he's such a nice guy.

I've been to conferences where successful authors read their rejection letters out loud. The purpose is usually to help new writers understand that rejection is a part of getting published, and that a rejection letter - no matter how bad - doesn't mean you're a failure. That said, the one time I heard an author say WHO sent those rejections, I thought they were going a bit far, beyond helpful to spiteful. I lost confidence in that author, like I lose confidence in even the most successful authors who talk about 'the traditional publishing system' as if it isn't a very large group of real, live people.

2Ns: regarding one word, two or hyphenated: It depends on the style guide you use. This sort of thing always depends on the style guide you use.

EM: I'm so sorry. (((hugs))) I'm crying now. My dad is in the hospital right now. He'll probably be out again in a week or so, but for how long, no one knows. He has terminal cancer, though with his dementia he doesn't truly understand what that means. Maybe that will help him in the long run. It's easier to buck the odds if you don't know them. I love your aunt, just for what she's obviously done for you. She was a great woman. Your work will always make her proud, even now.

Janice Grinyer said...

Being confident IS a good thing. Because the proper use of being confident means you don't need to mock nor deride a person or entity - Being confident means you can let it be and make an educated choice, unless someone's physical life needs a rescue. Being confident does not mean destroying someone/thing else to make you look better.

Do good & honest work, and you will be rewarded eventually (sometimes post mortem, dang!). Unfortunately, our feelings, even when truthful, can get in the way of our own selves.

As my Mom used to say, "Carefully pick the hill you're going to die on, Janice, because there are many to climb in a lifetime"

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

EM (((((HUGS))))))

Colin Smith said...

I'm still trying to figure out what an "ash at" is. Ash at what? Oh, there are TWO "s"s...!

So, what's an ash ats?

Lennon Faris said...

People surprise me. Burning bridges usually refers to AFTER you've crossed them... throwing grenades in front of you just doesn't make any sense. Hope this individual comes to their senses. Wouldn't that be something if he/she was sending this same message to all their rejections.

EM, and BJ - So very sorry to hear your individual losses. People in our lives touch us in ways that even words can hardly describe. Many, many virtual hugs, and real prayers for you both and your families.

Christina Seine said...

The thing about burning bridges is that sometimes you might have to retreat. And then you're screwed.

May I humbly suggest an addition to Janet's Rules for Writers? #1: Don't be an asshat.

Also, there are three acceptable spellings for asshat.
1. Ass hat
2. Asshat
3. Trump

EM, my thoughts go out to you today. ((hugs))

RachelErin said...

EM, I'm so sorry for your loss. I hope you have the time and support to grieve as you need, when you need, for as long as you need. And prayers for your aunt and all who loved her.

Colin Smith said...

I see Christina is vying to dislodge the Shih Tzu... ;)

Christina Seine said...

Nah Colin. The Shih Tzu should become a permanent fixture. Because now every time I see that guy's photo, I see a small dog.

No offense to small dogs intended.

The really scary thing is that I know two people who otherwise seem perfectly normal that are proudly voting for the guy.

Talk about burning bridges ... you'd think a guy like Trump would have burned all of his way back. Guess with enough money, you can just keep hiring undocument workers to rebuild them.

nightsmusic said...

You know, I'm sorry, but since there isn't one place anymore that I visit that doesn't get politics dragged into the comments, let me just go on record saying I wouldn't vote for Clinton or Sanders if you paid me a billion dollars and as it stands, I just might vote for Trump.

There, I said it. And now, I think I'll hie myself off until the elections are over.

Colin Smith said...

NM: I'm sure if all the Reiders laid bare their politics, we might be surprised, shocked, and perhaps even roll eyes at one another. I couldn't vote for Trump in good conscience, but if you can forgive the Shih Tzu comment, I'm sure not going to hold your politics against you. :)

Steph said...

EM, BJ, parying for both of your families; I hope you get the chance to spend lots of time with each other and sharing memories.

I understand composing an e-mail like the one Janet described - in your head, where it needs to stay. It's like those words you really want to shout when you're having a bad day and someone's dawdling in front of you or rolls over your foot at the grocery store; you need to shout them silently. You'll feel better, and they'll never know. So, when that person turns out to be your boss or next door neighbor, it won't be awkward. And, even if you never see them again, you haven't messed up anyone else's day.

Christina Seine said...

Nightmusic, I'm sorry - what I said was offensive, and I apologize. To tell you the truth, I cannot in good conscience vote for Clinton or Sanders either, but I cannot and will not vote for Trump. I'm sort of scratching my head in wonder that somehow these are the only viable choices we have(or so I'm told).

In any case, this is not a political blog and I should have kept my opinions private.

I will add that I have friends all over the political spectrum, and in spite of my earlier comment about Trump voters I really do respect that we simply have our differences. The only thing I really hate is when people disrespect other people's beliefs and opinions, and sure enough that's what I did in my previous comment. Damn.

Again, I apologize.

nightsmusic said...

Colin, I know and I appreciate it. I'm just so tired of politics at this point, I can't stand it. I don't watch the news or any other channels that encompass anything to do with the news. I subscribe to a paper so I can pick and choose what I read and not have to have it crammed down my throat. I just need a happy place that I can hide in because frankly, if even one tenth of one percent of the people complaining about BOTH sides would do something like...oh, run themselves, then maybe something would get accomplished.

And I apologize for the crabbys today. I just heard another friend's cancer has come back and she now has two months left. *sigh*

nightsmusic said...

Christina, it's not you. Really. No apology necessary. Today, I almost wish I lived someplace that still had a decent ruling monarchy (which even England doesn't have anymore) because then, voting would be obsolete. If you didn't like something, it's off with your head. I wish we could do that here to some of the politicos...

And I'm way over my allotment, so I'm outta here.

Adele said...

I enjoy being kind and scrupulously polite to my enemies. It makes me feel good, and it drives them crazy.

Colin Smith said...

NM: Awww no! :( So sorry to hear that about your friend. Man, some of us are going through it at the moment. I wish I could invite you all over for cake on Thursday. I could have FirstBorn make an extra special big one. It'll be chocolate. And it'll be OSSUM (as Diane would say). Chocolate won't heal all the hurts, but shared with friends, it goes a long way to ease the pain. :)

John Frain said...

You're sounding a lot like an Illinois senator named Abe Lincoln when he said something like "I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends."

But that was eight score and two years ago, so I might have forgotten the exact quote. Also, he never became a literary agent, so he dealt with different asshats.

Brigid said...

E.M., I'm so sorry. May her memory be eternal. Please surround yourself with gentleness and kindness as you grieve; it's hard work.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Christinaaaaaa, hahahahaha !!!

Your third spelling is perfect. Is it wrong to say Trump should be hyphenated ?

Anonymous said...

E.M. i am so sorry to hear that. Hugs all around.

Death is not an end but a beginning. Death only unties the chord from our ships mouring, so that we may sail on smoother seas.

May the comfort of her memory give you joy in the face of lifes frailty and anguish. And in fondness, may the light of her life forever shine in the eyes of those who remember her.

Anonymous said...

1. Did the query go out to fifty agents, get chosen by one, and now have to keep in mind forty-nine different agents?

2. Suppose the queryer shelves this project as a learning experience, writes another, and the new book would be PERFECT for QOTKU and vice-versa?

It just seems like professionalism makes things easier in the long run.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Awe come on Reiders. Don't let politics get in the way. Trump is fun to make fun of. I'd be making fun of Bernie and Hillery but they don't look half as nice with a dog as a French twist.
Problem this election year...wait there are no problems. Just remember, not everyone likes kale and lima beans. I like cake. Colin did ya get that ? I'm voting for cake.

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

I keep select query letters, but only the good, uplifting ones. I've had agents say nice things to me--things that remind me that my project isn't as terrible as it might appear. These letters are the knots in the end of my hope. When I've had a bunch of form rejects come back on a project, I'll pull these letters out for buoyancy.

If I were ever to read agent reject letters out loud in public, these are the ones I would choose, these ones that say, "I truly believe this will be picked up by other agents," and "This story is charming."

It helps centre me and supports the belief that when an agent says "I'm not the agent for this project" (as three have said this morning), it really means that they don't like my topic, and not necessarily my execution.

Another value to these positive rejection letters, should every agent who handles my genre says no and I choose to go indie with this project, at least I know there are already some readers out there who enjoyed this book.

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

I'm registered to vote in this US election (being a dual citizen). Have been especially motivated this election, even more than when a cousin of mine ran for president last election and barely got beaten by some guy named Barack.

This election scares me. Like agents judge us by the query letters and sample material (materiel?) we send them, I've been judging political candidates by their fruits. One in particular who refuses to hide his derision for people of colour, for women, for people of religion, and who his actively stirring up anger and hatred is springing forth ugly, noxious blossoms on his branches. It is only a matter of time to see just how bitter the fruit will be.

I am only one voter. I am only one scrape of the whetstone. But given enough scrapes of the whetstone, any pair of secateurs can become sharp enough to prune the dangerous branches from a tree.

Read an article yesterday about how the particular minority group with which I identify myself was thoroughly disenchanted by one particular candidate and I thought, "good, it's not just me who feels this way."

I am in no position to tell you how to vote, but I will tell you to go vote. And if you are going to vote, please go study the candidates. Know them for who they truly are.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Janet please allow one last comment regarding politics.

The only WRONG vote, is when you DON'T vote.

If every candidate sucks, then vote for the Yahoo which sucks the least. There's never been a perfect candidate, never, ever, although if Tom Hanks ran I'd vote for him no matter what party he was in. I'd call it MY party and wear a silly hat.

Okay, off my soap box. Back to our regularly scheduled program.

Janet Reid said...

As long as civility is maintained, political discussion is fine.

Please remember these things:

1. I would prefer the comments stay on or close to the topic of the day's blog post of course, but I understand that sometimes real life raises its head and demands our attention.

2 .I insist that calmly stated viewpoints be respected. I have a Carkoon shuttle and I know how to use it.

3. I am a registered Republican. I have been one my entire voting life.

4. I am in despair about the election this year.

CynthiaMc said...

E.M. so sorry for your loss.
Our parrot escaped this weekend while I was cleaning her cage. Freaked me out. We've been scouring the neighborhood. It was cold last night. Colder tonight. Discovered there is a patron saint of birds. Hoping he and our old standbys St. Francis and St. Anthony can track her down. Threw St.Jude into the mix today too. Can't hurt.

BJ Muntain said...

Thanks, Lennon and Steph (and Colin, I hope that cake's gluten-free, cuz I could sure use a piece).

Spent the afternoon with my dad and mum at the hospital - mostly to keep mum company. And I think dad prefers that mum doesn't always spend all her time worrying about him.

He's still himself. He gave my sister's ex-husband the finger when he tried to tease him. That proves he's feeling better than he was last night. Don't know if he'll be home for Easter, but even with the dementia, he knows how to deal with asshattery.

NM, I'm so sorry about your friend. (((hugs)))

As for the cookies: I make them for whoever actually follows through on the threats to move to Canada. Despite all those threats the last few years, I haven't had to share them yet.

Cynthia: Hoping your parrot finds her way home soon. I know I'd be a nervous wreck if it were my dog.

Colin Smith said...

Janet: Dare you to go to the convention with a can of dog food. Don't forget to take a picture... ;)

Kae Ridwyn said...

EM, I'm so sorry. Praying that you might find peace and strength in such a difficult time. *hugs*

E.M. Goldsmith said...

You guys! I am overwhelmed by the kindness here today. I so appreciate all the warm wishes. Reading this today kept me mostly sane, made me laugh, made me cry, made me want cake via Colin’s eldest. And cookies in Canada.

B.J. I pray for your father and family. Cancer is bad enough. Dementia is double rough. I wish I could buy you a drink and give you a hug.

Julie – thank you so much. I hope you get to feeling better soon. Those kind of anniversaries are tough. You remind me a lot of my aunt, at least what I know of you on this blog. And it’s not just the horses. I read that same grit in you.

Now back to Donald Trump’s hair and the ass-hats of the world.

Christine, I really needed that laugh. Now we at least have multiple definitions for ass-hat, hyphenated or otherwise, and every time I see Trump, I will half-expect his hair to leap from his head and pee on some reporter’s leg.

My dad and I visited my aunt yesterday (which now seems years ago) just to say our last good-byes. Anyhow, the Hospice nurse was there, and me being the story ghoul that I am, got to talking to her. I collect people's stories, don't you know?

As it transpires, this nurse came from the Republic of the Congo in Africa which used to be Zahir (not sure about that spelling) which was something else before that. This nurse, without too much prompting, proceeded to tell me about her homeland and her story.
My father picked up on the conversation and asked after some leader he knew about from the Congo. She told us that whoever this man was did not get to enjoy being president for very long.

Jokingly, my dad asks her, “They didn’t shoot him, did they?”

She answered, with a bright smile, “Oh yes, and the next president as well. It’s only politics."

So it could be much worse in the United States, but let's not go there. Please. Yes, Canada may build a wall after this election to keep the ass-hats out, but still.

Unknown said...

I send all good thoughts to EM, BJ, and NM from the West Coast!

And I nominate Bethany Elizabeth's "Burn that bridge when you come to it" for subheader.

angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Hugs EM. I'm sorry to hear about your aunt. Losing someone so dear to you is terrible.

What Lennon said. Bomb the bridge before you cross it.

This morning I read a blog post titled Homme de Plume. It seems fitting to link it to this discussion.

Janet Reid said...

I'll take Geography for $100!
The Democratic Republic of Congo (not to be confused with the Republic of Congo) was formerly known as Zaire. The capital is Kinshasa (formerly Leopoldville).

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Janet, and I thought I got up early.

Sam Hawke said...

It's probably too late to hop into this topic but just wanted to say my thoughts are with you EM - and you too Julie. It is so hard not being able to share successes with important people who are gone. I guess you just have to try to remember that they're part of your successes because they are a part of you. So in a way, you're still sharing them. *hugs*

Brigid said...

BJ--gf cake in times of sorrow is a necessity. There's a buttermilk pound cake I want to try, but drop me a note for tried-and-trues if you need a new recipe. Hope your father's passing is peaceful and full of love, and that all who love him find solace.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Janet, color me impressed. I learn something new everyday.

Susan said...

Are we talking politics here?! Oooh! Hamilton has my vote!

Wait, you didn't mean the Tony's? Boo. Carry on.

To everyone facing a difficult time: my thoughts and well wishes are with you. Hold your loved ones close, and if you can't do that, keep their memories closer.

JulieWeathers said...

E.M. "Julie – thank you so much. I hope you get to feeling better soon."

I do want you to know I prayed and will pray again. I completely adored my Aunt Rose who raised me part of the time, so my heart just break for you. My thoughts are with you and your family and certainly with your dear aunt. Peace and comfort. Ugh, and I have done it again. I can't seem to think about anyone else without putting the focus on me. I am so sorry. That is inexcusable.

BJ Muntain said...

Thanks EM, Mark, and Brigid for all the wishes. We're not sure how long dad has - he's a stubborn old coot, so it may take awhile. We can hope and pray, anyway.

And Brigid, I love cake, but I've never been able to get it to work, even when I could eat gluten. Cookies are about the most complicated things I can bake. That buttermilk pound cake sounds lovely!

Julie: It's okay to think about yourself once in awhile, especially when you're hurting. That's human nature - pain (of any sort) will grab your attention. That's its purpose, really. To get your attention, so you'll do something about it and possibly save your life (or sanity). This is a time to look after yourself. (((hugs)))

Delaney said...

One should learn from rejection in this and in all other arenas:

Gretta said...

Late to this event, but swerving back to topic because I love a good neener neener, but never never in this kind of situation. I am one of those who are comforted by the tales of celebrated authors' rejections, but don't need to have the rejecting agents named. Except the ones who rejected Harry Potter. That is my one exception. And I am absolutely dying to know who they were.