Having been the recipient of countless rejection letters, it was strange to have to be on the sending side. I can appreciate what agents and editors have to deal with.
If you've been following this blog, you know we've been dealing with selling our house in a very slow market. It's very easy to draw parallels to selling manuscripts. Our first agent was an acquaintance of hubby, and we decided to give him first crack at selling the house. However, after six months of inactivity, we decided to go with a larger company with more resources.
I'd gone to the Internet to look for Realtors who handled our area. I found six and filled out their web forms. Five responded. All came in with the same basic information. All tried to give us reasons why they were the best one for the job. But there can be only one. Based on their presentations, any of them could do the job. It becomes a matter of being very nit-picky.
First step was to see if we could eliminate any for whatever reason. One didn't bother with a competitive market analysis because nothing in our immediate vicinity has sold. They'd deal with pricing once we committed to a contract with them. But the other four did come up with numbers, and went into the details about short sales and foreclosures, and how that would affect our home's price. One came by to look at the house, but took three days to get his proposal to us. Since communication is one of my hot buttons, that was a negative.
So, we'd narrowed it down to three. We discussed pros and cons of the companies they worked for. We eliminated one because they're not selling in and around our neighborhood even though they have an office nearby. Doesn't mean they won't market our house, but it means if a potential buyer is driving around looking at signs, they won't see one from that company. That left us with two. Tossing a coin would probably have worked, but we ended up choosing the one who seemed to be more about what she would do to market the house rather than what the company resources were.
Now the hard part. I have to figure out how to tell the four we didn't choose that we've opted to go with something else. Do I create one form rejection letter and send it to all of them? Do I personalize bits of it? Do I tell them why they weren't chosen? Agents and editors send out far many more rejections than acceptances, and it's often for reasons as minor as the ones we had to use to reject 4 out of 5 Realtors. Had I used the dartboard method I suggested on Friday, it would probably have served us just as well.
Maybe I should dig out one of my rejection letters and use it as a template. My personal favorite: "We did review your proposal, and for some reason we don't feel we can represent it. Some of them come close, and yours may well be one of those, but we do have our reasons for declining."
With a little modification, it might work.
And, on the manuscript landscaping: I've cut almost 6000 words from my WIP. On the house landscaping: Hubby gave the green light to the tree-trimming crew to come in and "make it pretty." He's finally come to grips with the reality that this can't be for him anymore, and as proof, he's not even going to be around while they're working. Not only that, he even seems to grasp that the usual excuse of "it's a waste of time because ... " doesn't work. True, the bugs will return to the porch light, the mildew will grow on the driveway (he actually rented a pressure cleaner and took care of that chore) and the windows and sliders will get dirty again. But buyers come in expecting perfection. Based on what the Realtors have said, things will be busiest right after the new listing and new pricing hits the web. Once that's passed, I'm sure we'll resume our 'wait for a call, then clean' habits.
Causes Terry Odell Supports
Pro Literacy Worldwide, The Nature Conservancy, The Adult Literacy League, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society