Author Topic: How long is long enough?  (Read 2939 times)

Offline BillyShakeaspear

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How long is long enough?
« on: July 26, 2007, 08:19:00 PM »
Being new to this site, and grateful for its existence, I have found many parts that should prove helpful. However one service provided begs the question: how long should one wait for a response? The service is a reminder that will automatically remind the writer when it's time to follow up on a query or manuscript submission. Okay, but when is that time? Six weeks? three months? I have submitted queries only to not get any response and then, three months later get an indication that my query was read. If an agent is so busy he/she needs that long to even read the query, then what good would a follow up do?
And what about agents who never ever respond? Not even with a rejection? My mother taught me it was only polite to reply when receiving mail. Are lit agents born impolite or just too busy?

Offline audal

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Re: How long is long enough?
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2007, 08:40:51 PM »
You will find response times unfortunately predictably unpredictable.  The good news is that you'll grow used to it.  With a greater number of agents who accept emailed queries now out there, so too are there more disgruntled authors who never get a reply.  This "no-reply-means-no-thank-you" has become fairly acceptable... I often hear agents reporting their own stories about unruly authors who engage in email lash-outs when an agent has the NERVE to pass on their work.  While it would be nice to know that your e-query was at least received, many times the e-query vanishes into a cyber-ether full of brilliant novels demanding sequels and paychecks.

I tend to submit via post whenever possible, and with the inclusion of a SASE, I hear back from a good 80%-90%.  Hell, I may yet hear from them -- I've waited 4 months for a form letter no, and others I'm sure have waited even longer.  And that's just for a one=page letter.  If you've submitted pages and/or chapters, you could be talking a good six months at least.

Truth is, yes, agents often ARE that busy, primarily because we are a secondary duty to them.  Their pre-existing clients crush us on the totem pole.  Which is how we want them... once we hook 'em & reel 'em in, of course. 

Patience is indeed a virtue here on Publishing Place.  When in doubt, wait, unless an agent has specifically said it's permissable to contact them after a certain amount of time has passed.  Yes, there are some that will never respond... but the majority of them are good people who are well aware that the author/agent relationship is fully symbiotic.  If we're good, they will want to impress us, too.

End soapbox... Hope it helped... and welcome to the site, Billy!

« Last Edit: July 26, 2007, 08:42:33 PM by audal »
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Offline Patrick

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Re: How long is long enough?
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2007, 09:24:49 PM »
When to follow up?  Every agent is different and often you just can't know.  This is one of the things I hope QueryTracker will someday fix.  If enough writers input the data for each query they send out, we can paint a pretty good picture of each agent's normal response times.  So come on people, lets get that data put in, and tell all your friends to come on over and do the same.

And Billy, I got your message about putting indication on the agents to say if they accept e-mail queries or not.  It's a great idea, but it would be a very time consuming process.  Right now a lot of users will add that information to the comments for that agent, this is the preferred method right now since it spreads out the burden.  There should also be a link on most agent pages which will take you to that agent's listing on agentquery.com where you can also find that and more information.  Hope this help.