I’ve never posted back to back like this before, but something’s been on my mind, so I’m breaking the fourth wall, just for a moment. I received this email from a writer friend in reference to a recent post, “Anatomy of a Lengthy Rejection Letter”:
i read the blog about the rejection letter. i just hope it doesn’t piss off other agents. first rejection letter is like a badge of honor, right? that’s the beginning of every good success story. i’m not saying don’t blog about it, i’m just saying that in blog-type the tone of that blog is unclear. you like him, you love him, and there’s some sarcasm in there – are you throwing him under the bus or praising him or…?
Okay, first of all, it’s not my first rejection letter, but it is the longest and definitely the sweetest. So if I may, let me ask you, dear reader, for a favor. If you would, scroll back a couple of posts to the one in question, give it a read (or a reread), and ask yourself: is there really any ambiguity about the tone? Certainly it’s cheeky, but it’s clearly appreciative, no? There is sarcasm, sure, but is there any doubt that it’s meant to satirize an aspiring writer’s neurotic inclinations and not the publishing industry at large? I mean, should I be scared of having posted this? Because if so, I think that’s the kiss of death. I think to begin censoring myself over what anyone important (as if anyone important is actually reading these posts!) might think would be, for me, an unprincipled corruption of the artistic process. In some small way it would mean that I’ve sold out before I’ve even begun. And how goddamn sad would that be?
The agent that sent that letter went above and beyond. I don’t think there’s a shred of doubt that I applaud his efforts—not only his looking at my work, but the manner in which he rejected me: with his actual thoughts detailed in a personalized way. I mean, this guy—like any agent—is busy.
So please, do me this favor. Give it a looksee, and, if you would, comment here at this post. If you leave a comment and you live here in Western Mass, I’ll take you out somewhere. We’ll get a drink, at least one. I don’t care if you’re a boy or a girl 🙂