Saturday, November 13, 2010

I Can Take No For An Answer

It hit me the other day that I don't pitch articles nearly as much as I used. Actually, I think it's been almost a year. This is not because I don't want any more of my articles published, it's due to the lack of response. As a writer, I get rejections all the time. That's not an issue. It's the silence that makes the whole process seem pointless and somewhat discouraging. I live by, "You won't know until you ask" and "Ask and ye shall receive" as played out in my life on numerous occasions.

Just say 'no.' Seriously, I can take it.

I say 'no' all the time and my life is far less complicated because of it.

The same applies to this seemingly futile job hunt I've been on. The employers that state outright that due to the number of applicants they receive that they will only contact candidates they are interested in get a pass. I wish others would respond to applications, emails, CVs with something like, "If you don't hear from us in X number of weeks, we've chosen another applicant" or "We don't think you're a good match for the position." It can be a form letter. Employers put in bold face "no phone calls" because they don't want to be swamped with the follow-ups. I get it. But give the applicants some sort of response.

My most recent pitches have been to indie bookstores to get my book on their shelves. Same thing applies in this process; some acceptances, some rejections but mainly silence. So I follow-up.

Last month, I sent a series of follow-ups. Out of that batch, I did get two responses with positive updates and received an email within minutes in which the respondent wrote:


Your original email said "Please feel free to contact me with any question or comments." I didn't feel that I had any questions.

So they received my original email from months prior and just chose not to respond. Fine, they didn't have any questions but "No" or "Not interested" or "We'll pass" counts as a comment.

In the email, the respondent went on to write:

I'm sorry to say that we can't use the book at this time.  This is not meant to be a judgment on the quality of your work...

I know it's not a judgment of the quality of work in my book because I never sent them a review copy...because they never responded. An original response of "no" would've saved the respondent the trouble of trying to save face.

My response was:

Thank you for the response this time around~

No salutation. No closing. And of course, he didn't respond.

***end rant***


  1. I agree with you 100%, and I think this is why I've gotten discouraged when sending out pitches and querying about jobs as well. The silence, the lack of response, is more damning than an outright rejection.

  2. Yeah, the rejection allows you to move on! I know sometimes emails/applicants get lost in the shuffle, but it's email. In this day and age of limited face-to-face contact, it's still hard for some people to say no.


Popular Posts