About a month or so ago I bit the bullet and I finally sent my manuscript (well, the first 30 pages, synopsis and covering letter) off to literary agents, after having sat on the novel for ages, umming and aahing about what to do with it. The general consensus, according to agents' websites, is that it will take them up to eight weeks to read and decide, and they will then contact you with a yea or a nay.
My first nay came as a letter, dated 10th August 2012, from one of the agents. I don't know if I should name names, so just to be on the safe side I won't. The letter arrived a few days after I'd sent them my 30 pages, so I am going to assume that they didn't even bother reading it. Reading the letter between the lines, it also suggests that they didn't bother to read what I'd sent them.
Dear Sir or Madam:
Please forgive this form letter. We receive an enormous amount of unsolicited material and are unable to respond to each personally.
We have considered your material carefully and, unfortunately, could not see a market for it. We do, however, wish you the best in finding someone more receptive elsewhere.
The next rejection I received was via e-mail on 21st August 2012. It was slightly more personal, but still not particularly helpful. Again, I won't name names.
Thank you for letting us consider this but I'm afraid that we are going to pass.
We wish you all the best of luck in finding representation elsewhere.
With all best wishes
And I received another rejection via e-mail this morning.
Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to consider your work. We are afraid that, despite its qualities, we do not feel sufficiently enthusiastic to offer to represent you.
We apologise for the impersonal nature of this email and regret that we cannot enter into correspondence about your work.
We wish you all the best in finding representation elsewhere.
I know that all authors have to go through the process, but it is quite upsetting to receive such minimal responses when you work so hard to send off the most perfect letter and the most perfect first 30 pages and the most perfect synopsis. *sigh*