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If you read industry blogs at all, you have seen an agent or two (or two hundred) occasionally talk about reaction emails. Reaction emails are when an amateur (not an aspiring author) shows that he or she is no way emotionally ready for the challenges of publishing and may never be. They submit their query and receive a form rejection.

See now right there, that's pretty awesome. More and more agents are just not responding if they don't want to see more and I think that's lame because accidents happen and who knows if they ever received it or not (*beats the dead horse a little more*). Regardless, when you get the form rejection, that's pretty awesome. They saw your query and decided to pass. Closure.

But then these jerk offs write back and tell the agent how he/she cannot possibly conceive of the genius they have just rejected. That X number of other agents have already offered representation (which is a load of crap because no one goes from querying to partial to full in that little amount of time). And how could an agent ever think to judge one's genius by the five sample pages requested as part of the query!?!

See, I don't like that last part. I don't like any of it. When you get a rejection that's the end of it until you have something new to query. Don't be a dick. But if you think a professional in the industry needs more than five pages to gauge the quality of your work, then you're not a professional in the industry. Be thankful they gave you five pages. They probably knew the answer in the first paragraph. If you're particularly shitty at this whole thing, they knew in your first sentence.

And if you're not shitty at this whole thing, then you should be able to do the same. Critical reading is a fundamental skill and one necessary to improve your writing. When you read, you should find every crack in the paint, every loose nail in the floorboard, every over-watered cement mix in the foundation. You need to know when someone's repeating the same descriptors, using conflicting cadence, and/or showing and not telling. You need to know all these because you need to do it to yourself before you let other people read your work. You want your writing to be the best it can be so they don't waste their time finding the things you should have found but finding other things you hadn't thought of. (To which you will commit those mistakes to memory and find them on your first past the next go around, thus continuously improving until you're so awesome you cause the universe to implode from the sheer mass of your awesomeness.)

For the time being, pay someone you love (spouse, sibling, best friend). It won't cost much. Five bucks and a pizza or something. At any time they overhear you complaining that someone would love your work if they'd just read the whole thing, you have that person slap you across the face. Then say thank you, because that person is on duty, always vigilant, to bring you back to your senses. You make sure that you build the most amazing house of a novel in those sample pages, not a McMansion that would lend itself to hijinx with Tom Hanks and Goldie Hawn.

And if you think what I'm saying is harsh, keep in mind two things. First, it's late and I'm not feeling well, so my personal filter is working at half-capacity. Second, you already do this. When you read a book and that first page is utter shit. So then you go to the next page and it's even worse. It's a rare thing to keep reading a book in hopes that you'll love it only if you read to the very end. You put your much valued time toward endeavors that are worth it. You can tell by the page. You can tell by the paragraph. Perhaps even by the sentence. And so can they.

Remember that the next time you're in the mood to bitch. (Not to mention there are so many other things to bitch about! Like agents that don't even send form rejections! Or that the Canucks won game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs against the Bruins with an off-sides goal! Priorities, people!)