Silence is the new "no."
If I had a dollar for every rejection letter I‘ve received since I started my venture to become a published author more than a decade ago, I’d be able to quit my day job. I’ve actually become inure to rejection. But that wasn’t the case when I initially made my foray into the business. I would hold my breath and sweat boulders each time I opened an email or letter from an agent or publisher. It was beyond nerve wracking. “It didn’t grab me.” “I’m not taking on any new clients at this time.” “You need someone who’ll get behind your story, and I’m not the one.” “The writing didn’t draw me in.” “I’m no longer in the business and am launching my own novel.” “You have a great concept and your writing is strong, but I just don’t feel I can sell this one.” And so on. Now when I receive a rejection letter, I barely read it. If it starts off “Dear Author,” I know it’s a bust.
What has taken me aback lately is this new style of rejection, not only in the publishing industry but in all areas of life, particularly with matters relating to entertainment. I have to give credit to the agents and publishers who give you a heads-up that they will only make contact if interested, but there’s a slew of others who just flat out don’t respond, leaving you wondering if your query got lost in cyber world. Then there are those who make contact, but it’s a year later. Yes, I had someone request the manuscript for my new novel “Married in the Nick of Nine,” a year after I had sent a query letter. By then I had already landed an agent.
My question is what is wrong with saying “No?” It’s a very small word, with only two letters. It doesn’t take a lot of effort. It’s among the shortest words in the English language, any language. I’m a big girl. I can take a “no.” Under these new tacit rules, once I submit a query letter and I haven’t gotten a response after a month, I assume there’s no interest. Awhile back, I was contacted by a woman on Facebook who has a radio show. She expressed interest in me being a guest on her show. However, she wanted to read my book first. I sent her the book and even heard that she was reading it. It’s been two months and I have since followed up, but never received a response. On well…I guess she’s no longer interested. Or is she?
I also write plays, screenplays, and television scripts. The silence is deafening when it comes to making a submission and receiving any kind of response. I’d prefer to just be told the truth, rather than wonder. Maybe they didn’t receive my packet, maybe it got lost in the shuffle. Maybe they’re just not interested. The silent treatment is also prevalent in the workplace. I’ve run into instances where I’ve made requests, followed-up, and then there’s no response. My own family and friends have sometimes given me the silent treatment.
I can only imagine what the recipients of my requests and queries are saying on their end. “Why is this nut bugging me?” “Why is she inquiring?” “Doesn’t she get it?”” If I was interested I would have gotten back to her.” “Doesn’t she know how it works?” “Don’t call us, because we definitely don’t plan to call you.” “What does she want from me?” “Does she want me to tell her how I really feel?” “Look, you idiot, I don’t like your book.” “I don’t want to buy your book.” “I don’t like your idea.” “I’m not feeling your script.” “Your suggestion that you change desks is not a good one.” “I don’t feel like writing a review.” “I actually don’t like you, never have, and never will. Now leave me alone while I continue to give you the silent treatment!!!” Lol! I'm just saying.
Okay, I’m exaggerating, but I’m just saying…