Monday, December 28, 2009


How can we express our appreciation for your queries? It’s such an odd relationship we have involving hope, bravery, rejection and once in a while, a glimmer of something extraordinary—for all of us.

Most often, as we all know too well, our relationship ends before it can begin and we want you to know that we grieve for every “no thank you” we send. We are always amazed by your courage, your ideas, your talent and sometimes, your madness.

Sometimes we feel like psychiatrists when the query is a raw and bleeding cry for help—an attempt to work out childhood abuse, rotten luck in love, or appalling loneliness. At these times our inadequacy is so obvious and we wish we could reach out and help. But that’s not our job.

Our job is to try to find the needle in the haystack, the idea, the skill, the talent that may have what it takes to overpower a publisher’s cynical editorial board. It’s a daunting task, but one worth pursuing. Without all of you we would be nowhere and we want you to know that.

As always, we encourage you to keep trying. If we say no, another agent might jump at your idea. If we reject your book, it may find life elsewhere. Perhaps you need to rethink your premise, to rewrite your pitch and try again. Just know that we and many other agents support your efforts and really want it to work. We know how hard you struggle and we appreciate the work you do—even when we reject it so coolly.

The face of publishing is crumbling under our feet and turning into something different. We are all hanging on for our lives, trying to figure out what our roles will be in 2010. But one thing is certain. People want to read stories and good writing will never go out of style.

Happy New Year! Jon and Kae


Anonymous said...

I am so grateful that you've written this heartening entry. I'm glad to see such a human side from those who often seem like angels with the keys to heaven.

Hurdles make us stronger. Right? :)

Thanks for this. And for being among the few agents who don't specify "NO SCI-FI"! :)

Tiffany A. Belcher said...

Thank you so much for your kind words. I enjoyed the previous entry as well.

Oh, to be elderly....

I work with a lot of geratric patients. To be completely honest I work in 16 different specialty clinics in Group Health Cooperative here in Tacoma, WA. Every day I see a pateint struggling to get out of thier wheelchair to complete as task as simple as stepping onto a scale. I can't help but envision myself in that chair one day. What will I be like then? I hope I'm not a cranky old lady... Then I start to think of my next house... It will have to be wheel chair excessable so when it's time to start taking care of my elderly folk they can just move right in.... Second master on the main level.... minivan with a wheelchair ramp... The nissan quest is nice... I know how you feel.....