1. Everyone in New York is crazy.
Everyone. Everyone. The cab drivers, the investment bankers, the hedge-fund secretaries, the dogwalkers, the nannies, the offspring nannied, the Rejectionist, the Rejectionist’s superiors, the entire publishing industry. If you lived in New York you’d be crazy too. Keep this in mind.
2. An Agent Is A Person and Being An Agent Is A Job.
There is not a mystery factory peopled with golems somewhere that churns through your queries and deems them worthy or unworthy. Swearz. The Agent is a real person. The Rejectionist is a real person with a penchant for the royal we. Agents love their jobs, they do, because they love fine literature and also talking endlessly about James Frey’s weird YA mentee project/who just got fired at Random House/Reif Larsen’s advance/Pretty Lady Author Of Moment: Talented Or Just Hot? The Rejectionist loves our job, we does, and we really wants to get to your query right this minute and finish the 36 manuscripts in our inbox and provide thoughtful and insightful feedback for the 230 other queries we have to reject this week but we works in an office with no heat in the winter and only sometimes AC in the summer, under the flickering glare of fluorescent light, and we hates it, precious, we hates it. We have bad days where we would much rather look for Michael Jackson autopsy details on the internet than trample people’s dreams and our boss is in a bad mood and we don’t want to see another goddamn query about the holocaust/September 11/Al-Qaeda when we have already read 38 holocaust/September 11/Al-Qaeda queries that morning and we want to go HOME and take a NAP and have whiskies fed to us by our support team. The point being: be patient with us, and loving. Agents are not the Apostles. You look at the internet sometimes instead of doing YOUR job. Don’t lie to us.
3. We Are Not Objective.
Sometimes we reject your query for good reasons, like: it’s bad, it is a thinly veiled plea for mental-health intervention, it’s bad, it’s really bad. Sometimes we reject your query because: it has a blow job on the second page, which creeps us out; it is about middle-aged white people and the Dissolution of A Marriage, which bores us; it’s racist; it's sleazy; it’s about twenty-year-old musicians in Williamsburg, which bores us; it is a self-help book, which the good Lord above knows we DO NOT NEED as we are just fine the way we are, thanks; it is a fine query letter but it is the 57th query letter we have received that day and we are grumpy and we need a snack. Sorry. No means no, but don’t take it personal.
4. It’s Jackson Pollock.
For reasons unknown to the Rejectionist, Jackson Pollock’s work is, hands-down, the most oft-used metaphor for the following: bad art, chaos, murder scenes, crime scenes, war scenes, discord, pet messes. The Rejectionist has never, ever, not once, not in a single query or manuscript, for real, seen anyone spell Jackson Pollock correctly. It’s POLLOCK. Not Polock, Polack, Polok, Polak, Pellek, Palock. POLLOCK. POLLOCK.