Since I try to stress the positive in my Ramblings -- for the most part -- this one should be viewed as constructive criticism to agents.
But first let me say that I have nothing against agents. They have a purpose in life and that is to find the very best manuscripts, sell them to publishers, and make money for everyone concerned. Even the authors.
But my beef are those rejection form letters that many agents -- and publishers -- return to authors. They usually have a disclaimer that they are so inundated with proposals/manuscripts that they can't take the time to answer every query letter.
My heart certainly bleeds for those folks. It's like authors have all the time in the world to craft a query letter but they don't have time to return the courtesy.
I suppose I should be more understanding because all the author has to do is research/outline; write the manuscript; edit/rewrite; scour the Internet, magazines and reference books to find suitable agents and publishers; write a query letter; mail or e-mail the query; wait six weeks or longer for a reply and then receive a nice two-line rejection form letter.
Yep, we authors have all the time in the world.
So agents (and publishers), why not show some professional courtesy? If all the time you can spare for a rejection is a minute or so, at least take the time to write it and sign it.
And furthermore, don't advertise that you're actively seeking authors/manuscripts if you're so overwhelmed with work. It'll save all of us precious time.