(This best illustrates how I felt after reading Juri Gabriel's letter)
I have now received 16 rejections. This has been my 16th one, coming in the post earlier this week. I thought I would put what he wrote because, well. Because.
Dear Ms. Buckland (he writes),
Thank you for your letter from 27th June.
Please forgive me for sending you a form letter in response, but I receive about 1,700 book, film, tv and radio scripts each year, and there is only one of me.
I'm afraid I have decided not to accept your proposal. This does not necessarily mean that it is not sellable. All it means is that I do not think I can sell it - or that it does not make commercial sense from the agent's (10%) perspective.
Having said which, I feel I ought to make a few general points, which you may or may not find helpful.
1) From the hundreds of people of all kinds who write to me each year, I probably take on 2-4 new clients. (For most major publishers, broadcast and film companies the figures for unsolicited manuscripts are even worse: between zero and two out of literally thousands. Indeed, increasing numbers of them will only look at submissions made through established agents.)
2) However, the overwhelming majority (95%) of submissions are so hopelessly bad that one shouldn't really include them in any 'significant' statistics.
3) Last year getting on to 130,000 new titles (fiction and non-fiction and including new editions of previously published works) were published.
That there is a vast amount of undiscovered talent out there is a delusion. If you have genuine ability, persist; the real odds are less fearsome than they might at first appear.
Now, usually you get the form rejection letter that says something to the tune of this:
Dear Ms. Buckland,
Thank you for your submission, but I don't think it's right for me. The market is tough now. I have too many big clients already to deal with the no-name likes of you. What you submitted is squawking drivel that doesn't make any sense. Your vain attempt is an epic fail.
Best wishes for you in your search for suitable representation.
Every Literary Agent You Have Submitted To So Far
And so, you can see how refreshing it is to read Juri Gabriel's rejection letter. It really is a breath of fresh air. It is like allergies going away. That he takes the time to write a letter of hope, even if it is, stripped down to its bare bones, a rejection letter, shows how much he cares. Though he is clearly overworked - he could use some staff, a reader, an assistant perhaps? - he has not become jaded from the loads of rejections and trash he has to sift through in the slush pile every single day.
I think I'll frame this one.