If you missed it, what I said was: I wonder if other writers ever wonder if perhaps the reason agents are shifting to a 'no response means no' reaction to query letters is because as a whole agents are sick of being the bearers of bad news - as well as the targets for all the potentially postal writers out there. Or maybe it's just that as a culture we seem to shy away from saying anything that might hurt someone else's feelings - even if it helps them in the long run.
But the more I think about it, the deeper it goes. For instance, this morning a blog pal of mine posted her query letter and the first 150 words of her book, looking for helpful comments. The other comments before mine were all 'this is really good' type comments, but I posted what I thought - which was basically that her query and her 150 were both pretty good, but they didn't seem to go with each other very well.
I hit Enter and the guilt set in.
Even though I did what the writer asked, I felt awful about being critical of her work. I could tell she worked really really hard on what she was offering up. Like I said, both pieces were polished and well-written. Apart they seemed to stand perfectly well. Together they missed the mark. And this person is so funny and nice, I felt like a shit for saying it.
Maybe that's the feeling agents are trying to avoid when they go with a 'no response means no' (NRMN) policy regarding queries. Can't say that I blame them really. No matter how well-worded their form letters may be, someone somewhere is going to get their feelings hurt. I mean, just look at me and that rejection I talked about a couple weeks ago. He was perfectly awesome telling me what he really thought, and then I went and spoiled it by getting my feelings all dented. Of course, his words helped me in the long run, but in that moment, I became a whiny baby. "How dare you?!"
Now, as I consider this and many other things, I wonder if maybe agents are using a 'NRMN' as much to protect the overly-sensitive feelings we writers tend to have sometimes as to protect themselves . Perhaps if we band together, pull up our big-girl panties and take our lumps, agents can go back to saying what they really think - instead of just avoiding the truth.
Unfortunately, in order for this to really work, everyone would have to be on board. All it takes is one
(And as for the people who think giving someone the truth is a license to be mean? Well, we'll discuss that at another time. Needless to say, I don't allow that crap here.)
What about you? Are you ready for the truth? Will you stand with me as someone who is ready to hear the truth and let it make you a better writer? Will you stand as someone who is ready to give the truth if that's what someone really wants to hear?