Author Topic: What Do You Believe Response Time Says About an Agent???  (Read 13194 times)

Offline AlythiaB

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Re: What Do You Believe Response Time Says About an Agent???
« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2015, 12:27:04 AM »

I second this whole-heartedly! She just opened up her own agency and I queried her. I got a 30 page request and then a rejection all within the space of two weeks(maybe even a tad bit shorter)! And she emailed to let me know that she had gotten the 30 pages and would be back w/me soon. You hardly ever see that in this biz! Which I'm not saying that to knock how anyone else does it, but she's certainly stuck w/me as a super class act.

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Offline Dinan101

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Re: What Do You Believe Response Time Says About an Agent???
« Reply #16 on: January 14, 2015, 12:03:19 PM »
I learned early on that response times mean nothing.  Regardless of what an agency's site says, be it 1 week to 6 months, you can get the opposite for no apparent reason.  Maybe the "6-month-response-time" agent opens her email for something else, sees your title, and thinks, "Hmmm, what's this?" then sends you a response in an hour.  Or the "1-week-response-timer" gets your email, reads it, loves the premise, then the cat sh-ts on the rug as she's about to respond and your email gets buried in an avalanche of arriving emails and you don't hear back from her for a month.  It's all so random, and that's the maddening part.  That's why I did a shotgun approach with querying - a lot of queries out at a time, because you just never know who's going to get to it and when.

But...and this is the fun/madding part...after you sign with an agent, agencies you've completely written off will email you a form rejection.  And you'll laugh maniacally!
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Offline jamy

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Re: What Do You Believe Response Time Says About an Agent???
« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2015, 10:13:32 PM »
My boss is horrible at responding submissions, but he tries to respond to all of them. Despite that, he's really good at everything else for his business.

The most awkward situation I've been is when we're at a conference, book reading, book event, etc. and someone comes up and says, "I sent you a query letter, and you haven't responded yet." lol

Offline AlythiaB

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Re: What Do You Believe Response Time Says About an Agent???
« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2015, 12:27:45 PM »
Thanks for your thoughts, Dinan and Jamy! Totally agree!

I've been receiving some auto-responses from agents with overflowing inboxes. I think that's a great way to let writers know, 'Hey, your email wasn't lost in cyberspace and if you haven't heard back from me in X weeks, you can move on with your life.' Haha!
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Offline mmmpancakes

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Re: What Do You Believe Response Time Says About an Agent???
« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2015, 06:21:55 PM »
I should know better....what is "CNR?"
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Offline B

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Re: What Do You Believe Response Time Says About an Agent???
« Reply #20 on: January 18, 2015, 06:39:11 PM »
Closed/No Response
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Offline mmmpancakes

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Re: What Do You Believe Response Time Says About an Agent???
« Reply #21 on: January 18, 2015, 07:04:46 PM »
Aha! Thank you.
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Offline Sarah Ahiers (Falen)

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Re: What Do You Believe Response Time Says About an Agent???
« Reply #22 on: January 20, 2015, 11:05:36 AM »
Sara Megibow is definitely rad. She made a name for herself from CO (which is no easy feat) and has a good sales record. She is fast to respond to material she likes and also fast to read it. I think her work ethic is reflected in her speed of communication. I'm also willing to bet that she is very much on top of things for her clients and that they hear from her quickly.

I know for a fact that she sends out like weekly, or bi-weekly update emails to her clients (we had a phone conversation once. She's amazing and super nice)
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Offline Merriam

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Re: What Do You Believe Response Time Says About an Agent???
« Reply #23 on: February 08, 2015, 11:24:39 AM »
I have friends who submitted to my agent (before she was my agent) and didn't hear back for a really long time on their fulls. But she replied to me three days after getting my full (not because I'm all that - but because she was currently searching for exactly what I'd written). As her client, she is amazingly attentive and super-fast at responding, within minutes.

So - no - in my experience, I personally would not always assume that the way in which an agent manages responding to their non-clients says anything about how they'll be toward clients, or whether they are organized in approaching sales.

Great question!

Offline AlythiaB

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Re: What Do You Believe Response Time Says About an Agent???
« Reply #24 on: February 10, 2015, 01:02:34 PM »
I have friends who submitted to my agent (before she was my agent) and didn't hear back for a really long time on their fulls. But she replied to me three days after getting my full (not because I'm all that - but because she was currently searching for exactly what I'd written). As her client, she is amazingly attentive and super-fast at responding, within minutes.

So - no - in my experience, I personally would not always assume that the way in which an agent manages responding to their non-clients says anything about how they'll be toward clients, or whether they are organized in approaching sales.

Great question!

Great feedback! Thanks!
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Offline rainyrain2015

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Re: What Do You Believe Response Time Says About an Agent???
« Reply #25 on: May 02, 2015, 05:05:48 PM »
I have friends who submitted to my agent (before she was my agent) and didn't hear back for a really long time on their fulls. But she replied to me three days after getting my full (not because I'm all that - but because she was currently searching for exactly what I'd written). As her client, she is amazingly attentive and super-fast at responding, within minutes.

So - no - in my experience, I personally would not always assume that the way in which an agent manages responding to their non-clients says anything about how they'll be toward clients, or whether they are organized in approaching sales.

Great question!

Merriam, if you don't me asking (and I realize this post is a bit old) how did you find your agent? It seems that's the *magic* formula -- finding the one agent who really, really wants my MS... right now.

Offline W.E.Kelpie

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Re: What Do You Believe Response Time Says About an Agent???
« Reply #26 on: May 03, 2015, 07:29:34 PM »
I had a thought the other day…
 
Do you think the amount of time an agent takes to respond to queries says anything about their agenting skills/style?

Maybe this is an unfair assumption (I'm not behind the scenes on the 'other side'), but I can't help but wonder if the lit agents who can manage to respond to queries within a couple of weeks (or even days!) are more organized and communicative in their practice...

I have to admit, when I review the QT comments on agents and see a ton of 'CNR' from you guys, I tend to shy away from that particular agent. It makes me think 'If you read the query and intend to pass, how hard is it to dump the email into a file that automatically submits a form rejection letter?'

On the flip… Maybe the non-responsive agents spend more time communicating with their clients! And receiving thousands of emails can be daunting.

In general, I research the entire 'package' when forming my query list. But it was an interesting thought and I'm curious what you guys think!     


I haven't been in a position where I've been able to not query agents with lots of no replies on QT, because I write adult fantasy, and while the number of agents who say they rep fantasy is reasonable (184), once I start filtering, the number drops precipitously. There are only 126 who are in the US and currently open to queries, for instance. Then once I start researching and seeing who actually reps secondary world fantasies instead of just UF, and who actually requests fantasy manuscripts with any regularity, and most importantly, who has (or is at least at an agency that has) a record of selling fantasy novels to SFWA-approved publishers in the past few years (or heck, sold any genre fiction to reasonably big imprints at all), well, the number gets even smaller.

So by the time I get to where I'm tossing aside well-regarded agents who work with my genre and have actually sold fantasy novels, I won't have a lot left to choose from :(

I don't think long reply times is necessarily a sign of poor agenting, though. It's more a matter of how that person works best and of their priorities. Existing clients need to take priority over the slush pile.

I am a bit leery of brand-new agents with no clients listed and no record of sales (even if they're at a great agency) who are slow with queries or are letting them pile up and not making requests. It suggests to me that maybe their heart isn't in it or they're in over their head. I was just looking at a writer's digest interview from 2-3 years back, and several of the brand new agents they spoke to seem to have left the business completely. The profession seems to have a high turnover rate. So I put those types of slow responders on my watch and wait list.

But ultimately, what I'm looking at is that they have a verifiable list of authors who publish fantasy with popular markets and also, good things said about them by those clients.

« Last Edit: May 03, 2015, 07:31:43 PM by W.E.Kelpie »

Offline sunflowersky

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Re: What Do You Believe Response Time Says About an Agent???
« Reply #27 on: June 01, 2015, 02:21:46 AM »
Obviously I don't know what it says about how s/he treats his/her clients (and thanks for all your input!), but I really, really appreciate agents who understand what a vulnerable position we are in and do their best to inform us. Agents like the aforementioned Victoria Marini who have an auto-response and keep their websites updated on where they are in the pile are superstars in my book. But even giving a time frame after which you can conclude that it's a no gives me some kind of closure. I have submitted to at least two agents who specifically wrote to expect an answer after X amount of time, who I never heard back from even after following up (one of them was over a year ago), and that just strikes me as really unprofessional.

When I first started querying with my current MS, it hit me that when I submit to "CNR agents", sending a query and getting rejected, and not sending the query, have the exact same result! So I could query, and pretend I didn't, and no harm done! ;)