Friday, May 16, 2014

The Royal We

I got a form reject from a particular agent at an agency. In her reject, she uses the collective when saying it's not a project they feel enthusiastic about. Am I to assume this means I should not query other agents at that agency because THEY are not interested? Or do agents sometimes use the collective when talking about themselves and their assistants. I don't want to unnecessarily cross off any agents from my list but nor do I want to miss out on other agents in an agency who might be interested. What say ye?

Ah yes, We see that a lot in rejection letters.

For some reason "we" feels safer than "I" when followed by "think your work isn't right for us."

Assume that We means only the one agent.

Besides We still haven't fully funded the Kickstarter campaign for the Query Policy. We soldier on.

9 comments:

french sojourn said...

Yes, oui certainly do!

Kitty said...

The Royal We, made famous by Queen "We are not amused" Victoria.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Ya know what the three little pigs said all the way home...

Susan James said...

Thank you for answering this. Most often it's obvious when the agent is answering for the whole agency but in this case it wasn't. The royal we, as used here, is in keeping with my experience to date that agents are basically REALLY nice, even in their form rejections. They write encouraging and kind form rejections. A few . . . not so much, but that's the minority by far. That they'd use the we to avoid being too discouraging (and to protect themselves, of course) is kind of nice.

Colin Smith said...

I suppose some agents just don't like giving bad news to the point that they couch the rejection in the plural. It makes it sound like they're not alone in making you feel like crap today. Personally, it doesn't bother me. In fact, it's a nice reminder that agents are human, and they know how important their words are to the writer.

John "Ol' Chumbucket" Baur said...

And, whether the agent meant just herself or everyone in the agency plus their families – what does it hurt to query another agent in her office? It doesn't cost you anything but a little time. What's the worst they can do? Chase you down, throwing stones at you while screaming, "I thought we said we didn't WANT you!" That seems unlikely. Go ahead and send the query. It'll either work or it won't, and you won't know until you try. But another rejection is absolutely the worst thing that can happen.

DLM said...

Colin Smith, but that's the thing that confuses me. Their words ARE important to us. And ... as understandable as the namby-pambyness (pambiosity?) may be ...

There's a certain irony in getting your writing rejected by way of a piece of writing which is itself inherently unclear. I've gotten rejections I'd flat-out call bad writing, and been pleased to see 'em. Agents who can't communicate better than that, I don't need.

Carolynnwith2Ns and french sojourn, y'all made my day.

Lance said...

The agent has a cat.

french sojourn said...

named Fred, no doubt!