As I submit queries for my novel, I am always struck by the polite but somehow insulting and condescending form rejections I receive -- without the rejecting agent's even reading a sentence of the work. "Sounds fascinating, but not right for my list," is the customary refrain.
Now, I have not used a "query blasting" service, nor have I sent queries to every agent in the country. I have read their blogs, gone to their websites, checked to see what genres they represent. I have researched them quite thoroughly, and have followed the "rules" regarding the query letters I have sent them. Receiving a form rejection similar to the one described above does not help me become a better writer. Neither does it help me decipher why my work was rejected. Is it the query? If so, why not write me a rejection saying "Your query letter was poorly written and left me cold," or just "Your query sucks!" Not particularly compassionate -- I don't really expect compassion from literary agents anyway -- but at least honest. Or, and perhaps much more helpful, "Readers don't want to read about what you're writing." Now that would really help, for why should I slave away for a year or two writing a novel that no one wants to read. Why not tell me what it is the reading audience wants?
With just a little more effort on the agent's part, the form rejection could become a very helpful one.