Hear that? That’s right, it’s nothing. The sound of silence. Normally, I like silence. In my life, it’s hard to come by. But I’ve noticed a new, silent (sorry) trend: Silence as rejection.
Years ago, when I first started pitching agents for my first novel, rejection came in the form of Xeroxed form letters. I mean, ouch, right? Eventually, the letters graduated to personal replies, sometimes including hand-written notes, before I finally did snag an agent. For my second novel, I would have given anything for one of those Xeroxed form rejection letters. The trend in agenting now is to not reply. At all. To let the sound of that black, sucking silence be your rejection letter. “If you haven’t heard from me in ____ number of weeks, it means I am not interested in your project.” Nice. But I get it. With the advent of e-queries, literary agents are busier than ever. Plus they have to spend a lot of time chasing after the new literary geniuses of our time. People like Snooki.
But I’m watching this the Silence is your rejection trend spill over into other aspects of life. A letter sent to a friend (!) asking if he’d consider giving me a blurb for the back cover of my new book went unanswered, even after follow-up. (I guess that means No.) Instead of an RSVP, I get crickets. A certain organization I was blogging for (not ChicagoNow) that refuses to tell me my services are no longer needed and just lets my submissions and emails go unanswered. The clerk behind the counter that refuses to acknowledge you. The silent treatment. You get the idea.
Well, to all these wimps who won’t reject me to my face, or at the very least in an email, I say, Man up!
Yes, rejecting someone is hard and, unless you’re a sadist, not a lot of fun. But I don’t care if you’re a man or a woman, I don’t care how busy you are. I say, Just grow a pair. Tell me, “I’m sorry Kim, I can’t help you out.” Or tell me to flat-out piss off. I don’t care. Just. Say. Something.
Even if all you say is, “Kim, you’re no Snooki,” on a Xeroxed form letter, I’ll be impressed with your courage and thankful you didn’t give me the silent treatment. Actually, I’ll be thankful on a couple of counts.
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