I keep track of my queries. I'm old school and use paper and pen, writing down the date I sent my query, to who at what agency, plus what I sent specifically. I have a column for their answer and the date I received it. All my submissions in the last several years have been by email. Many agencies either 1) don't bother to respond; 2) send a quick thank you in their rejection notice, or 3) have an underling send a form letter with my name and book title inserted in blank fields.
Last July I sent a query and waited the several weeks to hear a response. After three months, I crossed off the agency's name as a - no response. It wasn't the first time I've done this. I moved on with my queries, not thinking much about the lack of response.
Yesterday I received a nice note from that agency: (I've withheld the real names and agency name)
Dear DL Larson,
This is Sarah' assistant, Eliza. First let me apologize on Sarah's behalf for the delay in following up on this submission. Somehow it was ensnared in our Outlook spam filter and languished there until now.
Alas, this type of sci fi romance doesn't quite fit Sarah's list, but I hope you have (or had already had!) good luck with this submission. Thanks again for thinking of our agency.
With warmest wishes,
I smiled when I read her note. Yes, it was a rejection, nothing new there. And yes, it was from an assistant, not surprising or unsettling, but her explanation of a little mishap and her personal touch of sincerity was greatly appreciated. I felt she saw me as a real person, not just another rejection she had to send. Plus the fact she sent anything after all this time, reveals professionalism and kindness.
Of course, I'm disappointed my work did not fit their expectations. But I believe whoever does provide a manuscript they can use, will have found a good home for their work.
The small things do matter. Eliza's small note renewed my enthusiasm to keep searching for a home for my book.
Til next time ~
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