Agents will tell you that it's nothing personal. It's not that they don't like us, they just didn't like our query/book.
Well, why don't you just stab us in the heart? End it now. Please. Say what you want about us, but please don't insult our words.
Most writers are sensitive. And not in the way you might expect. We talk a good game about growing thick skin, but when it comes right down to it our work is our soft spot. Our Achilles' heel. The chink in our armor. (Enter more clichés here).
We'd rather you told us we were ugly. That our nose is too large or crooked. That you don't like our hair or that our breath stinks. It's a million times better than hearing that our work is derivative, insipid, or cliched.
Not that a rejection letter will necessarily say these things, but to writers, it's there. Encrypted in the words of a standard form rejection is the message that we suck. Our book sucks. And that we should quit wasting everyone's time.
Now for saying this I may end up in that special section of Writers Hell that's reserved for uber successful commercial writers like Nicholas Sparks or Dan Brown, but I get it. I totally understand the agent selection process. I do the same thing every time I go to my local bookstore, the library, or browse my Nook book store.
Now imagine that you can only buy 8-10 new books per year. Are you hyperventilating yet? Yeah, me too.
They have no choice but to be selective. They can't represent every book that comes across their desk. Just as we can't buy every book we see (even though I want to). So they read our query letters like we would read the blurb on the back cover and they decide if the book in their hands is something they could fall in love with. If not, a rejection will follow.
It's nothing personal. It's not like I've ever returned a book to the shelf because I hated the author. Well maybe sometimes, but that's not usually the case.
Okay, so now that I have you thinking like an agent, I have a question for you. If you could only have read 3 of the books you've read this year, which 3 would it be and why?
Can't wait to hear your answers!!!