If you are not reading WordServe Literary Agent Rachelle Gardner's Blog you are missing out. Yes, she specializes in Christian Publishing and if you are reading my blog you probably specialize in Children's Publishing, but she is one savvy agent with a blog-load of good advice.
Today she focuses on why agents don't send personalized rejection letters. Rejection hurts. Everyone in this business experiences it. But as Rachelle says:
"I could be wrong. I would hate to make some kind of pronouncement about your manuscript being unsalable and get you all dejected, only to have my opinion proven wrong by the next agent who comes along and recognizes your brilliance."
Opinions vary and we, as writers and illustrators, must bully up our confidence everyday to create our very best work. When we stop believing in ourselves, our creativity suffers. Our manuscripts suffer. And most of all, our souls suffer.
I have been lucky enough to attend a number of SCBWI retreats where participants meet in small groups with an editor and read their first pages aloud. The editor provides a first-impression critique. An hour later, our small group reassembles in front of a different editor and we hear his/her critique of the same work. In the third hour, the writers repeat this process with a third editor. To my great surprise, the editors' opinions varied not just greatly but sometimes were completely juxtaposed.
Lesson learned: opinions vary from person to person so I must believe in myself and search for my editorial soul-mate.