Yesterday I got an agent’s standard rejection email to a submission I sent in June, and as I was electronically filing it away I was struck by how many submissions were in the separate correspondence folder I always create for each thing I write.
I don’t always send things out to everyone and his dog, but I really believed in this story so kept persisting, including after a major rewrite.
Anyway, when I realised how long the list of submissions and replies had become, I decide to do a little experiment. I’ve been saying for a long time that far fewer agents and publishers bother to reply these days, so I did a quick tot up for this particular children’s novel:
I sent it to three publishers.
Number of replies: zero.
I sent it to 28 agents (I told you I didn’t want to give up on it!)
Number of replies: 8
Thus, almost exactly three-quarters of recipients failed to reply. Some of them probably warn writers that they don’t reply if they’re not interested, but personally I think it’s a very poor show. I know that both agents and publishers are extremely busy, but communicating with writers is part of their business, and how long does it take to load a rejection email created from a template and press ‘send’?