“Dear Mr. Temple: Thanks very much for your query letter regarding your novel, THINGS SAID IN DREAMS. I’m sorry to say that I don’t feel we could represent this for you successfully because of the fluctuations in the publishing marketplace. The publishing business has been erratic since the early part of 2001, when most publishers took a big fall in sales. Sales since 1999 have been mixed, and, specifically, 2001 showed a tremendous drop in the sale of fiction. Since then, book chain business has been soft, with yearly increases of two to four percent, but more from nonfiction than fiction–and with a rise in the sale of juvenile and young adult books. Generally speaking, this means that bookstores and such outlets as Walmart & Costco are selling more copies of a limited number of books, often and not surprisingly by established best-selling authors. The market for fiction has been smaller and smaller, and thus publishers and editors have been buying less novels that might be considered “mid-list”–and they’re buying darker material. I wish I could say something more specific about what you’ve submitted, but we are receiving between forty to sixty queries a week these days–and it is just impossible to read and consider and comment in detail. Of course, another agent may feel differently, and good luck with your work. Best wishes, [Agent X]”
Understood. Best wishes to you in this publishing climate. MVT
“As it states on our website, please note that we are not taking on new clients or accepting any query letters at this time. However, Mr. [X] has made his book, How to Write a Great Query Letter, free, as a way to give back to the writing community and help you in your search. If you would like to donwload it for free, you may visit […] Mr. [X] also maintains a blog, […], which is filled with valuable advice to help aspiring authors in their careers. Feel free to visit it, and to ask any general questions you may have about writing or publishing. We wish you the very best of luck in your search. Best wishes, [Agency X]”
I didn’t write this agent back. Though he has a venerable list and I think he means to help, my goal is clearly not to become great at writing query letters.
“Dear Inhaesio Zha—
Thank you for your submission to Kitchen Dog Theater’s 2007 New Works Festival.
Unfortunately your play was not selected for the festival, but it was among the few that made it to the final round—no small feat, as we received hundreds of submissions this year.
Thanks very much for your interest in Kitchen Dog Theater. We hope that you’ll keep us apprised of your progress, and that you’ll consider submitting to New Works in the future.
Best of luck to you—”
“Dear Inhaesio Zha, Thank you for sending A SIMPLE LOVE STORY to Playwrights Horizons. We considered it with care and appreciation. We found it smart and sexy with a keen sense of dialogue. Ultimately, however, it’s a bit small in scope for our tastes. … We wish you the best of luck with it and thank you for thinking of [us]. Sincerely…”
I believe that’s the best rejection letter I have received thus far.