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Author Topic: Silence on Full Manuscript  (Read 3068 times)
drose
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« on: September 23, 2017, 09:14:30 AM »

Feedback will be very helpful in the time void of waiting for responses on full manuscripts.

I currently have four full manuscripts out. The oldest was sent on May 17th. The agent's time frame is 12 weeks for full. I have never nudged before, but since a full month over the stated time had passed, I sent a message regarding status via the Query Portal this agent uses to receive queries and upload the manuscript. This was three days ago and no response. A comment on this agent's Query Tracker profile stated the author sent a message regarding a full with no response from the agent.  The agent rejected manuscripts after mine and requested multiple fulls as well.

Not sure what to think about this: Is she a no responder to fulls, or simply setting those aside she is still considering since the agency is query only without writing sample.

The other agents with my full don't give specific time frames like this one, and I have read having a full out for months does not necessarily mean a rejection or lack of interest.  Two other agents rejected my full fairly quickly, within a matter of one to three weeks.

I do plan to send out another round of queries and I have another WIP.

It's just frustrating.

Anyone venture a guess what is going on?  I would appreciate input very much.

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Mimsy811
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« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2017, 02:58:05 PM »

I feel your frustration! In my experience, these time frames really run the gamut. I'd get responses on some fulls within days or a few weeks... then there were two agents who had my fulls OVER TWO YEARS and never responded to check-ins. I eventually CNR'd them. A while back, a comment on one of these agent's profiles suggested there are some who ask for the full, but really only read it if you report you have an offer of representation. Personally, I think that is an awful thing to do to writers. We do get hopeful and excited when asked for a full. To be completely ignored is frustrating and demoralizing. Wish I had a better response, but I do wish you the best of luck!
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Munley
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« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2017, 05:36:34 PM »

I feel your frustration! In my experience, these time frames really run the gamut.  . . . A while back, a comment on one of these agent's profiles suggested there are some who ask for the full, but really only read it if you report you have an offer of representation. Personally, I think that is an awful thing to do to writers. We do get hopeful and excited when asked for a full. To be completely ignored is frustrating and demoralizing. Wish I had a better response, but I do wish you the best of luck!

I agree that it's a lousy thing to do. Granted, an agent may not have time to read requested materials for a few weeks. But I  wonder if some agents simply cast a wide a net as possible, asking for lots of partials and fulls while taking no account of the writers as people, or even much account of the quality of the work at the time they make a request. Their gauge is whether other agents show interest. That's a sign that the manuscript they asked for ages ago is now worth taking a look at. If no one else shows interest, they never bother to respond to the author of material they requested.

I wonder if there's a quick way to for agents who often ignore requested materials to have some sort of warning flag  rant pop up by their names on QueryTracker. Sure, we can study the agent's long-term timeline and sift through comments, and maybe, if enough people have noted CNR's to requested materials, deduce that that's how this agent usually operates.

Me -- I'd like a flag to know that upfront and not bother to submit to an agent like that in the first place.

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jcwrites
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« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2017, 06:47:27 PM »


Me -- I'd like a flag to know that upfront and not bother to submit to an agent like that in the first place.



That!... times a hundred!
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Curious Author
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« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2017, 10:36:42 PM »

That is frustrating. I would say the agent's probably overwhelmed and/or busier than expected. They could turn it around and give you great feedback, or they could stay silent forever.

Do you see activity on social media or their website? Sometimes, agents will post updates there about where they are at.
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Tabris
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« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2017, 06:44:33 AM »

I wonder if there's a quick way to for agents who often ignore requested materials to have some sort of warning flag  rant pop up by their names on QueryTracker. Sure, we can study the agent's long-term timeline and sift through comments, and maybe, if enough people have noted CNR's to requested materials, deduce that that's how this agent usually operates.

There were two agents I didn't nudge when i had offers because that's the exact description of their long-term timeline. LOTS of requests, next to no responses on fulls, and each had had the manuscript for over six months and not responded to nudges. With both of them, I just withdrew the manuscript and didn't give tem a chance to compete.

They're allowed to devise whatever business model works for them, but as an author, so am I. Sorry, but I don't want to partner with an agent who considers other agents to be her slush-pile screeners.
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Tabris
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« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2017, 06:49:23 AM »

It's also not certain that's what's going on. Agents don't read downhill in their requested submissions. Three months in agent-time can telescope dramatically: one of their signed authors goes to auction and suddenly there's a three-book deal on the table that requires a lot of negotiation, plus another is trying to get out of a situation that might involve a lawsuit, and three signed clients all turned in manuscripts on the same day, plus two unsigned authors she requested material from nudged her with offers from other agents, and then someone wrote her saying she just won the Nobel prize for literature and was looking for an agent to represent her in the United States....

All that happens, so I wouldn't give up or write off the agent as rude. Wait another month and nudge again, and after that point, close it out as CNR. If you suddenly hear from her, awesome. If not, you're no worse off than before AND you know not to ever query her again in the future.
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Munley
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« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2017, 12:42:16 PM »


There were two agents I didn't nudge when i had offers because that's the exact description of their long-term timeline. LOTS of requests, next to no responses on fulls, and each had had the manuscript for over six months and not responded to nudges. With both of them, I just withdrew the manuscript and didn't give them a chance to compete.

They're allowed to devise whatever business model works for them, but as an author, so am I. Sorry, but I don't want to partner with an agent who considers other agents to be her slush-pile screeners.
[/color]

While I don't think most agents act this way, it's good to be aware that some do.

I found this interview with agent Dan Conaway interesting, particularly on the subject of whether an agent really loves your work on a gut level. Although an agent may not be able to tell a whole lot when they have only a query and no pages to go by, I don't think an agent should request a partial or full without some genuine, gut-level excitement about it. Sure, they may be disappointed in the actual manuscript and reject it. But if they don't have their own personal excitement about it in the first place, they shouldn't just cast a wide net.

Here is the section of the Dan Conaway interview I was referring to:


And what are some signs along the way that the search is going well?

. . . The thing to remember is how profoundly subjective the experience of reading is; and for the most part it’s no less subjective for agents and editors than for anybody else. My personal experience, both as an editor and now as an agent, is that every single time I’ve tried to ignore my gut instincts about the writing itself (that is, every time I’ve decided pursue something I didn’t really love), or to convince myself that a topic was interesting to me even if I didn’t have a visceral (positive) reaction to the words as they lay on the page, it was a mistake.      Consequently I pass on lots and lots of competent, professional, publishable stuff. And that’s how it should be. If that’s how I see your work, you don’t want me to offer to represent you. You want the guy who’s blown away by it. “I think this is publishable” is too low a bar.

If agents are so hard to come by, should a writer dare to be picky?

Absolutely. The only thing worse than no agent is an agent you don’t trust or who you suspect doesn’t love your work. The relationship between agent and writer is like marriage except without the sex. It’s often intense, and personal on all kinds of levels, and it requires enormous amounts of trust.

One thing I’d recommend: before you sign with an agent, ask around, find out who else he represents, what they think of him. Don’t be afraid to ask the agent for names and numbers of clients whose work is in the same writerly universe as yours. If he’s offended by the request then you don’t want him as your agent. It’s that simple.

Source: http://www.litpark.com/2008/10/29/dan-conaway-literary-agent-part-1/
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mgmystery
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« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2017, 08:27:32 AM »

Congrats on having out 4 fulls!  clap The only thing I'd really recommend is to just leave it as long as you're still querying this manuscript. You could also check into that agent's twitter and see if you can find a reason. I've found regular life things (surgery, illness, new baby) slowing down some of the agents I've subbed to. Since you're getting full requests, go ahead and get that next round of queries out!  Smiley
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Vathi
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« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2017, 12:37:52 AM »

I support the use of warning flags — or some other marker — for agents who request a lot of full manuscripts and then sit on them for long periods of time. 
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drose
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« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2017, 03:15:08 PM »

Thanks for all the input and good advice. I noticed another post regarding the same question and the answers were very similar.

Of course we expect agents to be busy, especially if they're good agents, but no reply on a polite nudge after four months is a little unnerving. I only nudged the one who posted her timeline as twelve weeks for fulls.

I'll wait a good long time before sending out nudges for the others. Query a few more agents, too. Concentrate on my WIP. Going to stay  positive (after the mini melt down I had the other night. My poor husband).

Thanks again!

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Mimsy811
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« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2017, 01:20:21 PM »

Do you see activity on social media or their website? Sometimes, agents will post updates there about where they are at.

In my experience, the worst offenders are on Twitter constantly.
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drose
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« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2017, 06:02:05 PM »

I stalk Twitter; the literary agents with my full aren't on all that much. My response was to send out another batch of queries. I sent out another ten today and received a full request in less than an hour.

Boy oh boy.

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Munley
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« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2017, 11:13:00 PM »

Congratulations on another full request. Your query must be a good one.  Thumbs Up

Do you include any sample pages?
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drose
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« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2017, 11:19:24 AM »

Munley, this agent requests a writing sample of ten pages. It's a small sample, I guess to get an idea of the voice. I think it's better when agents want to at least see a writing sample before requesting a full manuscript; a good way to avoid a waste of time on their side and dashed hopes on ours.
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