No. It's a form rejection.
It's something I have to handle, being an aspiring writer. You deal with it as best you can, hopefully with good grace and a shrug of indifference. Yes, underneath the veneer of professionalism, it feels like a solid punch in the gut. You take the threads of story, you live and breathe for your characters, you forge... well, something you thought was worthwhile. Something good. But, in some way, it wasn't enough.
That's the hardest part for me. I can't know where I went wrong. I only know that I did, and it hurts a little more than it should. But I also know it won't last, because I have other stories to write, and other threads to follow. I think Van Halen said it best - You gotta ro-o-oll with the punches to get to what's real!
It wasn't the Novel, you understand. It was just a short story. When I start getting rejections for the Novel, I'll probably spontaneously combust from agony and disappointment.
However, in any case, I won't be doing what Mr. Patrick Roscoe did! In the category of too-dumb-to-be-let-out-unsupervised, this writer's response to a form rejection is surely a winner. I do so love his use of the phrase, "You lose, silly woman", and the insults he levels at Ms. Lindsay's clients. And the follow-up email... classic stupidity, the like of which you rarely get to read about. It's like watching someone shoot themselves in the foot, and then clean the wound with bleach.
Perhaps the most important things that an aspiring writer can take note of are as follows:
- Agents react badly to insults or snide sarcasm, because they just happen to be human.
- Agents talk to each other, and to editors and publishers.
- Agents often have blogs that are popular.
- Agents have a hundred other hopeful writers with actual manners in their slush pile who have probably submitted work as good as yours.
When I submit my work, I endeavour to follow every guideline, and act with nothing but the highest respect and courtesy towards the submittees. A published author isn't just a person with their name on a book cover; they're also a professional writer, and I think that demands a certain standard of behaviour.
It's alright to rage in private. It's even expected, I would think. But in public, when facing a rejection, it's unacceptable to be anything but businesslike.