I still keep my rejections but now with email, it’s easier to keep (and also to query and submit). And run the numbers. Since going electronic, I have 61 rejections out of 220 submissions (not all publishers/agents bother to even send a rejection) for three books and one short story. 99% of the rejections are form emails but on the rare occasion I will receive an email with constructive criticism which is always welcomed as I received this week from an agent.
Not to be pessimistic but when I query, I don’t dwell on it once I hit send because I know that first, I might not even get a response and second, slush piles are mountainous. I imagine it’s a bit like searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack. The response to my query might come in a week, or in three months, or never. One of my favorite experiences has been from an agent sending me a rejection letter seven months after I queried him. In those seven months, I was offered a contract for the book AND it was released by my current publisher. I did make sure to respond to his rejection thanking him for the belated response and let him know about the book’s release. Perhaps a bit snarky but it really was ridiculous. Why even bother after seven months? I figure I’ve been rejected if I haven’t received a response in two to three months.
The other amusing experience from queryland is when I got the exact same rejection letter – word for word – from two different agencies/publishers. I have no idea who plagiarized who, but I found it quite funny considering plagiarism is a humongous no-no in the publishing world. At least they remembered to change the names.