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Queries and Agents => Literary Agents => Topic started by: mysticatical on February 02, 2021, 10:47:42 AM

Title: Slow responses after sending my full MS/no confirmation of receipt
Post by: mysticatical on February 02, 2021, 10:47:42 AM
Two agents requested my full MS last year and I haven't heard back yet.

1 requested it just over a week ago and I'm yet to hear.

Note: I've sent to a total of 6 so far. Once hasn't got back to me at all and it's been 3 weeks. Two sent very encouraging rejections commenting on the beautiful writing and atmosphere--one said she didn't connect with the voice, the other thought there was too little story. Having re-visited her page, I think she is more into commercial literary fiction but I thought it worth a go.
Title: Re: Slow responses after sending my full MS/no confirmation of receipt
Post by: mysticatical on February 02, 2021, 01:09:38 PM
Thanks for the reply. Yes, it's quite frustrating, particularly given they were so eager last year/one reached out to me! I'd love to hear from others.

Sounds like I'll be waiting for news. I'm not sure whether to stick to my batch strategy, or whether to be impatient and send to more.
Title: Re: Slow responses after sending my full MS/no confirmation of receipt
Post by: littlewritings on February 02, 2021, 01:36:23 PM
Publishing is an extremely slow industry and agents will always put their clients' work first... so if they have a bunch of client manuscripts to read, they'll likely read those first.

It's definitely not unusual for agents not to confirm receipt and it's also not unusual for an agent to take several months with your manuscript. I would say it's okay to nudge after 3 months, but don't be surprised if the answer you get is something like "It's still in my to-be-read pile". (And nudging after 6 months is obviously fine, too.)

Some agents are super fast and respond to requests within a few weeks, but I would say those are an exception. Sadly, there's also a bunch of agents out there who are known to ghost authors on fulls, so I would recommend looking at the comment sections for the agents who have your material to see if that's something that could possibly happen to you.

Good luck!
Title: Re: Slow responses after sending my full MS/no confirmation of receipt
Post by: Viddiest on February 02, 2021, 05:35:41 PM
Have you looked at the response times for your agents here on querytracker? I obsess over that stuff. :) So worth being a premium member to get that kind of info.
Title: Re: Slow responses after sending my full MS/no confirmation of receipt
Post by: mysticatical on February 03, 2021, 07:05:37 AM
I have premium and no one else who has logged their queries has heard back from these agents yet so... hopefully they're just being super slow.
Title: Re: Slow responses after sending my full MS/no confirmation of receipt
Post by: sjforti on February 04, 2021, 07:40:33 AM
Also in this boat and wondering what to do.  At least with QueryManager, you know it was received.  But I've got one via email that's at the 4 month mark, and no way of knowing if it was caught by a spam filter due to attachment and not read or if it's just too soon.  The agent noted they were backed up, but also said that meant it could be "a few weeks" before getting to it, which I thought was surprisingly quick.  Do I nudge?  Sit tight and not poke Shroedinger's request?
Title: Re: Slow responses after sending my full MS/no confirmation of receipt
Post by: mysticatical on February 04, 2021, 11:28:30 AM
Haha, I have the same feeling. Until we nudge and get a "no" it could be a "yes"! I wish nudge one of the two who didn't confirm receipt in a week or two, I think. She contacted me rather than me contacting her so it would be weird of her to just ghost me... If 4 months have passed, I would probably nudge.

On the other hand, today I got a full request in less than 20 minutes. The agent "loves my voice and style" so fingers crossed he reads the full as quickly.
Title: Re: Slow responses after sending my full MS/no confirmation of receipt
Post by: Viddiest on February 04, 2021, 01:22:24 PM
That’s fantastic mystical. BTW, I did dm you. Did you get it? Not showing in my messages so checking?
Title: Re: Slow responses after sending my full MS/no confirmation of receipt
Post by: richardclin on March 18, 2021, 02:08:42 AM
Sorry, littlewritings, but what do you mean by "agents out there who are known to ghost authors on fulls?"

Publishing is an extremely slow industry and agents will always put their clients' work first... so if they have a bunch of client manuscripts to read, they'll likely read those first.

It's definitely not unusual for agents not to confirm receipt and it's also not unusual for an agent to take several months with your manuscript. I would say it's okay to nudge after 3 months, but don't be surprised if the answer you get is something like "It's still in my to-be-read pile". (And nudging after 6 months is obviously fine, too.)

Some agents are super fast and respond to requests within a few weeks, but I would say those are an exception. Sadly, there's also a bunch of agents out there who are known to ghost authors on fulls, so I would recommend looking at the comment sections for the agents who have your material to see if that's something that could possibly happen to you.

Good luck!
Title: Re: Slow responses after sending my full MS/no confirmation of receipt
Post by: Odd John on March 18, 2021, 05:43:37 AM
To Richard:  This is a pretty fast Forum. Likelihood of getting a reply to a post over 1 month old from the original poster? 50/50

So, in answer to your question, this means that the agent has failed to respond to a submission even after requesting and receiving a full manuscript. He's acting like a "ghost". Hope that clears this up for you...
Title: Re: Slow responses after sending my full MS/no confirmation of receipt
Post by: richardclin on March 18, 2021, 10:14:28 AM
As usual, John, you crystalize everything quite clearly. Thank you very much.

To Richard:  This is a pretty fast Forum. Likelihood of getting a reply to a post over 1 month old from the original poster? 50/50

So, in answer to your question, this means that the agent has failed to respond to a submission even after requesting and receiving a full manuscript. He's acting like a "ghost". Hope that clears this up for you...
Title: Re: Slow responses after sending my full MS/no confirmation of receipt
Post by: littlewritings on March 19, 2021, 01:39:01 AM
@richardclin It's already been said, but yeah... I did mean that some agents will enthusiastically ask for your full manuscript and then you'll never hear from them again and they won't respond to nudges (often not even when you have an offer). So basically they quietly pass on your manuscript and leave you hanging. (I honestly wouldn't have an issue with that practice if it was clearly stated somewhere that you may never hear back, but that's usually not the case.)
Title: Re: Slow responses after sending my full MS/no confirmation of receipt
Post by: richardclin on March 19, 2021, 04:23:45 AM
Thank you, Little Writings, for more color behind the clarity. As I journey further into this world and away from the corporate arena I left behind last year, I still feel astounded by the communication mores of this industry. From all accounts, agents are way overloaded, so time for them is like time passing near a black hole. A few hours spent with our manuscript to them is like 3-6 months to us in the author world. This I can understand and fully empathize. However, this ghosting practice you speak of feels rather odd and regrettable.

I too have six partials/fulls out but more recently. I already plan to wait a few months before nudging them based on everything I read in these fine forums.

Good luck to you on hearing back positively from your agents soon!

@richardclin It's already been said, but yeah... I did mean that some agents will enthusiastically ask for your full manuscript and then you'll never hear from them again and they won't respond to nudges (often not even when you have an offer). So basically they quietly pass on your manuscript and leave you hanging. (I honestly wouldn't have an issue with that practice if it was clearly stated somewhere that you may never hear back, but that's usually not the case.)
Title: Re: Slow responses after sending my full MS/no confirmation of receipt
Post by: mysticatical on March 25, 2021, 12:46:14 PM
Just a note that I spoke to one of my ghosters at a zoom lit fest (it was agent speed "dating") and they said they haven't read it yet!
Title: Re: Slow responses after sending my full MS/no confirmation of receipt
Post by: richardclin on March 25, 2021, 01:46:38 PM

That is terrific news, Mysticatical. I'm very happy for you!

Just a note that I spoke to one of my ghosters at a zoom lit fest (it was agent speed "dating") and they said they haven't read it yet!
Title: Re: Slow responses after sending my full MS/no confirmation of receipt
Post by: Viddiest on March 25, 2021, 07:25:53 PM
Thanks for sharing, Myticatical, this is really good to know. Good luck!
Title: Re: Slow responses after sending my full MS/no confirmation of receipt
Post by: Johnny 5 on March 26, 2021, 06:55:09 AM
Out of interest, are these senior agents (like VP, and partner ones for example) or junior/new agents?

A well respected editor I worked with last month allowed me to have a heart to heart and she was very helpful. She recommended targeting junior agents or newly joined agents in the same houses as the more senior ones as you will get better response times (due to workload and current client lists). Chances are they may turn to the senior ones for guidance and input, allowing you a quicker trip up the ladder.

Richard nailed it with how an hour feels a month with this business.
Title: Re: Slow responses after sending my full MS/no confirmation of receipt
Post by: mysticatical on March 26, 2021, 07:08:45 AM

That is terrific news, Mysticatical. I'm very happy for you!

Just a note that I spoke to one of my ghosters at a zoom lit fest (it was agent speed "dating") and they said they haven't read it yet!

Thanks! Now back in that exciting place not knowing what comes next. The full MS is out with 5 new agents and 4 more have requested it. Waiting a few days to see if I get any resposnes.
Title: Re: Slow responses after sending my full MS/no confirmation of receipt
Post by: mysticatical on March 26, 2021, 07:13:34 AM
Out of interest, are these senior agents (like VP, and partner ones for example) or junior/new agents?

A well-respected editor I worked with last month allowed me to have a heart to heart and she was very helpful. She recommended targeting junior agents or newly joined agents in the same houses as the more senior ones as you will get better response times due to workload and client list length. Chances are they may turn to the senior ones for guidance and input, allowing you a quicker trip up the ladder to their desks.

I have had one such junior agent reply the same day as my query (not making this up - it only took 7 hours for her PERSONALIZED rejection). I am yet to test this on a full though. I sent my revised batch out last week to about 15 agents, including the one that replied the same day.

Richard nailed it with how an hour feels a month with this business.

I have been pitching a mix of junior agents and established ones. The established ones/agents with long lists are definitely slower.

Rejections so far:
-I've had 1 rejection so far which was an earlier draft (it's been revised since) - they felt impatient during one part of the story and said they felt it failed to sustain itself in the way they'd hoped (I've since streamlined that bit and cut out a hefty 10k). An established agent at a big agency.

- 1 revise and resubmit where the agent said ultimately he still didn't connect but the changes were good and the piece was very strong. He has a short client list.

-One 'Great atmosphere, Great writing but for some reason I failed connect with the voice' An established agent at a big agency but in hindsight not the best choice - her taste veers more towards commercial/reading group fiction even if she says she is looking for literary fiction.

-1 'I felt the story was too vague' (for the early draft--I feel like since then I have honed my pitch and the piece to make it tighter. There was always a story but I wasn't selling it enough.
Title: Re: Slow responses after sending my full MS/no confirmation of receipt
Post by: richardclin on March 26, 2021, 07:42:17 AM

Wow, Mysticatical, you collect requests for submissions faster than my elder son collects comic books or my daughter followers on Instagram! So happy for you. Forgive me if it's been mentioned at some point during this long thread, but what is your book about? I feel the need to write in the same genre suddenly! :wink:


That is terrific news, Mysticatical. I'm very happy for you!

Just a note that I spoke to one of my ghosters at a zoom lit fest (it was agent speed "dating") and they said they haven't read it yet!

Thanks! Now back in that exciting place not knowing what comes next. The full MS is out with 5 new agents and 4 more have requested it. Waiting a few days to see if I get any resposnes.
Title: Re: Slow responses after sending my full MS/no confirmation of receipt
Post by: richardclin on March 26, 2021, 09:22:45 AM

A bit of a funny story. Last night, I queried an agent and mistakenly inserted the wrong name in the query salutation. Within ten minutes, the agent curtly informed me that this person did not work at her agency. I begged her forgiveness citing the late hour in Shanghai. Within 24 hours she asked for my full MS with the following message:

"Sure, send pdf.  I am very slow, the worst.
Please be patient & continue approaching other agents."

I feel like a guy who asks his crush on a date but calls her by the wrong name. After apologizing, she agrees to go on the date, but then informs him it will take a long time before she will allow him to get past second base...and to keep dating other girls as well...    :bash:
Title: Re: Slow responses after sending my full MS/no confirmation of receipt
Post by: mysticatical on March 27, 2021, 08:26:15 AM

A bit of a funny story. Last night, I queried an agent and mistakenly inserted the wrong name in the query salutation. Within ten minutes, the agent curtly informed me that this person did not work at her agency. I begged her forgiveness citing the late hour in Shanghai. Within 24 hours she asked for my full MS with the following message:

"Sure, send pdf.  I am very slow, the worst.
Please be patient & continue approaching other agents."

I feel like a guy who asks his crush on a date but calls her by the wrong name. After apologizing, she agrees to go on the date, but then informs him it will take a long time before she will allow him to get past second base...and to keep dating other girls as well...    :bash:

Haha! There is hope! Congratulations :) Sounds like a good book you have on your hands.

Mine is literary fiction but there's a lot of nature which several agents told me is "in vogue."
Title: Re: Slow responses after sending my full MS/no confirmation of receipt
Post by: Johnny 5 on March 27, 2021, 08:31:21 AM
Hmmm . . . is using the wrong name maybe the real secret to success then?  :rolf:

Well done Richard!
Title: Re: Slow responses after sending my full MS/no confirmation of receipt
Post by: richardclin on March 27, 2021, 12:29:26 PM

Thank you, Mysticatical.


I just realized after seeing your "quote" of my reply that somehow it came out like in 2 pt font size. I have modified it to 12 pt.


And, yes, Jonny, it seems I have hit upon a new best practice to catch the attention of literary agents: unabashedly address them by the wrong name in the query letter! :wag:


A bit of a funny story. Last night, I queried an agent and mistakenly inserted the wrong name in the query salutation. Within ten minutes, the agent curtly informed me that this person did not work at her agency. I begged her forgiveness citing the late hour in Shanghai. Within 24 hours she asked for my full MS with the following message:

"Sure, send pdf.  I am very slow, the worst.
Please be patient & continue approaching other agents."

I feel like a guy who asks his crush on a date but calls her by the wrong name. After apologizing, she agrees to go on the date, but then informs him it will take a long time before she will allow him to get past second base...and to keep dating other girls as well...    :bash:

Haha! There is hope! Congratulations :) Sounds like a good book you have on your hands.

Mine is literary fiction but there's a lot of nature which several agents told me is "in vogue."
Title: Re: Slow responses after sending my full MS/no confirmation of receipt
Post by: mysticatical on March 27, 2021, 12:37:38 PM

Thank you, Mysticatical.


I just realized after seeing your "quote" of my reply that somehow it came out like in 2 pt font size. I have modified it to 12 pt.


And, yes, Jonny, it seems I have hit upon a new best practice to catch the attention of literary agents: unabashedly address them by the wrong name in the query letter! :wag:

Haha yeah, I had to copy and paste it elsewhere to decipher it :P

A bit of a funny story. Last night, I queried an agent and mistakenly inserted the wrong name in the query salutation. Within ten minutes, the agent curtly informed me that this person did not work at her agency. I begged her forgiveness citing the late hour in Shanghai. Within 24 hours she asked for my full MS with the following message:

"Sure, send pdf.  I am very slow, the worst.
Please be patient & continue approaching other agents."

I feel like a guy who asks his crush on a date but calls her by the wrong name. After apologizing, she agrees to go on the date, but then informs him it will take a long time before she will allow him to get past second base...and to keep dating other girls as well...    :bash:

Haha! There is hope! Congratulations :) Sounds like a good book you have on your hands.

Mine is literary fiction but there's a lot of nature which several agents told me is "in vogue."
Title: Re: Slow responses after sending my full MS/no confirmation of receipt
Post by: richardclin on March 28, 2021, 08:46:34 AM

Yes, I am thinking of sending my next query letter or MS submission in 2 pt, just to spice things up for the agent...    :wink:


Thank you, Mysticatical.


I just realized after seeing your "quote" of my reply that somehow it came out like in 2 pt font size. I have modified it to 12 pt.


And, yes, Jonny, it seems I have hit upon a new best practice to catch the attention of literary agents: unabashedly address them by the wrong name in the query letter! :wag:

Haha yeah, I had to copy and paste it elsewhere to decipher it :P

A bit of a funny story. Last night, I queried an agent and mistakenly inserted the wrong name in the query salutation. Within ten minutes, the agent curtly informed me that this person did not work at her agency. I begged her forgiveness citing the late hour in Shanghai. Within 24 hours she asked for my full MS with the following message:

"Sure, send pdf.  I am very slow, the worst.
Please be patient & continue approaching other agents."

I feel like a guy who asks his crush on a date but calls her by the wrong name. After apologizing, she agrees to go on the date, but then informs him it will take a long time before she will allow him to get past second base...and to keep dating other girls as well...    :bash:

Haha! There is hope! Congratulations :) Sounds like a good book you have on your hands.

Mine is literary fiction but there's a lot of nature which several agents told me is "in vogue."