I Did Not Make This Sh*t Up

I've been preparing what has now become a series of posts on surviving what I like to call Query Hell.  These posts were inspired by the lovely Cassie Mae's comment on my 100 Followers post who said she'd like to know more about how I snagged an agent or how I survived querying.  Surviving querying was quite an intriguing blog topic and as I began to lay out my thoughts, I realized I had material for several posts.

I had been working feverishly on them when I got an email from a literary agent.  It was odd to say the least but I got quite a hearty laugh out of it and had to share.

For those of you who have been following my blog for awhile know, I've been agented for over a year now.  See my lengthy post about Who You Are and What You're About for the story of getting my agent. 

Anyway, it was a form rejection for a query I sent out for Finding Claire Fletcher in 2010.

Yes, 2010. 

I've scrambled the letters of the agent/agency's name to protect the overworked but there it is--the email I received contained a copy of my original query and as you can see it is dated 10/5/10.  Just a day before I snagged my agent. 

Here is a screen shot of the date on the rejection email I received:


So yes, one year, three months and six days after sending my query, I finally received a form rejection! 

It went a little something like this (again, I've masked the name of the actual agency):

It is with kind thanks that we respond to your submission to Overworked and Understaffed Literary Agency. We apologize for the long delay in our response--the number of submissions we received this past year far surpassed our capacity to review and respond. We thank you for your patience as we work to amend this. Please be assured that we have carefully considered your project. Unfortunately, we don't feel the manuscript is right for us at this time.

Because we receive more than two hundred submissions per week, it is necessary to be extremely selective on a very subjective basis. We wish you the best of luck. There are numerous excellent agents that might be the right fit for your manuscript. Don't give up!

I can top that, sort of.  The longest I ever waited for a rejection based on a full read of my manuscript was four years.

Stay tuned for tips on surviving Query Hell!


  1. What.

    I just sat here and blinked for a solid minute, trying to process that time lapse. Wow.

    Anyway, as someone at the gates of Query Hell, I can't wait to read your tips! ;)

  2. I'm not sure I'm going to like this series. Isn't it sort of like telling a pregnant woman about labor? Great information, but not exactly something she wants to hear.... :)

    Okay, so I'm excited to read your tips, too. :D

  3. Oh my gosh. I thought seven months was a long time, lol. This is insane!

  4. Wow! I had one that was 11 months, but you've got me beat for sure. I wonder if that's some sort of record?

  5. OMG. 4 years??? I'm going into querying now. Not a newbie, by any means, but I scoffed at the 1-yr-old R's that would show up from time to time. Goodness.

  6. Makes you wonder how they keep things organized over at that agency that they're just now responding to a 15 month old query. Geez! And I am getting impatient after waiting nearly (but not quite) 5 months for a full & a partial. Guess it might be awhile, huh? Scary to be starting up again on that dreaded query wheel. I'm still hoping for that "Jenny" experience!

  7. I'm trying to figure out why they even bothered.

  8. Wow. I waited a year to hear back on a manuscript once, but on a basic query? Wow. Hey, at least they responded. You don't have to sit up nights wondering or constantly check your e-mail anymore. :P

  9. I still get some that roll in from the manuscript I queried three manuscripts ago.

    Good part about that is the rejection doesn't feel bad at all! :) haha

  10. Wow. Just, wow. And I thought waiting a year for a partial was bad.

  11. Oh my gosh, I can't believe this. I love this idea for a series, I'm not ready to send out queries yet, but I know it will be a big help to read about your experiences. Thanks for sharing!

  12. It's amazing that they even responded at all. At least they were pleasant. I had some real shitty ones.

  13. *speechless* but I can still type. Good thing you weren't holding your breath.
    Can't wait for the Query Hell series. On Monday, you can ask me about my own (she says coyly).

  14. I wonder if anyone has ever received a positive response from a literary agent more than a year after sending the initial query.


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