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Writing Books/Query Responses


I submitted a query and sample pages to several agents. Although it was rejected, one agent sent along a small note to tell me what she liked and didn't like about the novel, and offered some brief suggestions on what she felt I needed to work on.

This was several months ago, and now I'm thinking I should have sent a reply email with a "thank you" for taking the time to give me the suggestions. I thought about it at the time, but decided not to, since agents tend to get deluged with queries, and I didn't want to add any more to her inbox.

My question:

Is it appropriate to reply to an agent's rejection email with a "thank you" when they offer constructive criticism, or should I treat it like a rejection, and move on?

I think it's always a good idea to send a thank-you note under any circumstance, but golly, when an agent gives feedback these days, it's a rarity. It's true that they get deluged with queries, but they can choose to delete a thank-you e-mail after reading it. Even better, in my opinion, is to send a handwritten thank-you note sent through the (gasp!)regular mail. I say send a thank-you note, in one form or another, even after several months have passed. Who knows? As a result of your thank-you note, he or she may remember you when you send the query for your next book.

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Bobbie Christmas


Book Doctor Bobbie Christmas owns Zebra Communications, a book-editing firm in metro Atlanta. She not only edits books, she also helps writers power up their prose to increase their chances of success. She is the author of Write In Style (Union Square Publishing), a creative-writing guide that won three awards.


Bobbie has spent more than 40 years in the publishing and communications industry and has run Zebra Communications, a book-editing company, since 1992. The editor of many publications and periodicals, she has worked with book publishers and trade magazine publishers as well as working in marketing communications and corporate communications.

Past president, Georgia Writers Association; past vice president, South Carolina Writers Workshop; charter/lifelong member, Florida Writers Association; Southeastern Writers Association; Atlanta Writers Club; Society for the Preservation of English Language and Literature (SPELL); International Guild of Professional Consultants

Write in Style (Union Square Publishing), A Cup of Comfort (Adams Media Corporation), A Cup of Comfort for Friends (Adams Media), A Cup of Comfort for Mothers and Sons (Adams Media), Haunted Engounters (Atriad Press), Remembering Woolworth's (St. Martin's Press), First-Time Home Buyer magazine, HomeBusiness Journal, Apparel Industry Magazine, Edge Magazine, Atlanta Jewish Times, Time Travel Australia, American Writers Review, Points North, That's Entertainment, Atlanta Parent, Agnes Scott Alumnae Magazine, etc.

Journalism: University of South Carolina plus four decades of working in publishing, marketing, communications, advertising, newspaper and magazine production, book publishing, etc.

Awards and Honors
First Place, nonfiction, Georgia Writers Annual Contest, 2005; First Place, education, Royal Palm Literary Award, 2004; Best in Division, Georgia Author of the Year Awards, 2005; Finalist, Best Books 2005, USA BookNews Third Place, nonfiction, Georgia Writers, 1999; Nominated for Georgia Author of the Year, 1998; plus many other awards

Past/Present Clients
Capital Books, Sourcebooks, Olin Frederick, The Writer's Machine, Russell Dean & Company, Outskirts Press, and hundreds of writers.

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