I just have to get something off my chest.
I know when an agent rejects you, it shouldn't really be taken personally. They just don't like your work, or don't think it's a good fit, consider it unmarketable, are currently busy with other projects--there are literally a thousand potential reasons why, all of which are fine. It's a business.
Believe me, I've been to the Rejection Rodeo before and I've won several ribbons--various jobs, fellowships, friendships, boyfriends, calf roping, etc. You just hitch up your abnormally sized belt buckle and carry on.
But here is the thing.
While I am sure that the vast majority of agents are super nice people who love their parents and take care of their kids, I do not enjoy reading an article, interview, or blog post where said agent remarks on the ease with which he or she rejects someone.
(Yes, I'm thinking of a few particular blogs/articles/interviews/tweets, and YES, my brain knows that they are likely in the minority of the publishing industry. But sometimes my brain stops being in charge. Right now the typing fingers are in charge.)
Because in no other avenue of life or profession would that be ok. Well, maybe it is, but I'm coming from the genteel profession that is the LAW.
(PS, if you couldn't pick up on the sarcasm encapsulated by my use of ALL CAPS, I'll spell it out for you--if lawyers are more gentlemanly and ladylike than you, you may have a problem.)
A law firm would NEVER post statistics on how many candidates it rejected.
A law school admissions dean would NEVER talk about the attributes of the applicants he or she didn't accept.
And above all--IN THIS ECONOMY--we never talk about how easy it is to reject someone. Even more than attorney-client privilege, that's the lawyer code of honor right there.
Of course people will be rejected--everyone knows that. And yes, of course some of those people were an easy no. But like Scarlett O'Hara worrying about whether she should still wear black in Atlanta even though she's clearly a devil woman, lawyers want people to think that we're a classy bunch. So it's zipped-lips, all around.
Every decision is a painstakingly difficult decision--even if it wasn't. (Shakes menacing fist.)
When I get an email claiming that rejecting me was a difficult call, sure, I'm disappointed--but a part of me appreciates the charade. "It was a tough decision," I think to myself with a measure of satisfaction. "Well done, self--next time it will be nigh impossible!"
Then when I see on a blog or interview that, no, actually, it's SUPER EASY to stomp on hopes and dreams, that appreciation dies a slow death. Nice Rejecter and Dream Stomper may even be two different people--but there it is. (See why it was previously going to be posted under "I is for Irrationality"?)
But like I said--rejection is fine, and I am ok with it.
Still, if the day comes where Agent McSmug Agentpants is having his or her civil rights violated, I plan to be too busy with other clients.
(Yes, I know that would sound a lot more threatening if I were a doctor. Lucky for us and the universe I am not.)