Author Topic: Agent Response Times  (Read 4135 times)

Offline ASchumacher23

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 3
  • Karma: 0
Agent Response Times
« on: January 13, 2020, 01:53:32 PM »
Hello, all!

I'm new to this forum, though I found my agent last year by using the killer features on the main Query Tracker site. My agent is great, is passionate about my work, and I have felt from our first conversation that he "gets" what I do. The only issue I have is he can lag in responses to emails. To be fair, I have a tendency to be a tad obsessive and check my inbox far more often than anyone rightfully should. So in order to set a reasonable expectation I have a question for the other represented writers: How long does it typically take for your agent to respond to an email?

This doesn't include requests to review a new MS, outline, or other materials as I am aware that takes some time. I simply mean a check-in email or quick question. Understandably, this varies from agent to agent. I'm just looking for some peace of mind.

Thanks in advance!

- Alex
« Last Edit: January 13, 2020, 01:59:53 PM by ASchumacher23 »

Offline 217mom

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 48
  • Karma: 6
Re: Agent Response Times
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2020, 03:52:07 PM »
Both my first and my now-agent were/are prompt responders to current clients. I know it varies, but the common agreement on business relations etiquette is to respond within forty-eight hours, (often much sooner) unless it is known either of you is out of internet reach for some reason.
If you feel your agent is way out of this range when it comes to pertinent questions you ask that require a response, talk to them about it. Don't let it fester, as some have and then finally became exasperated.

Offline ASchumacher23

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 3
  • Karma: 0
Re: Agent Response Times
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2020, 04:41:20 PM »
48 hours, not counting weekends or holidays, is kind of the timeframe I had in my mind. I wasn't sure if that was being reasonable. I suppose it's also fair to point out that this is a boutique agency and he has been the Director of Operations in addition to managing his client list. Regardless, I'll probably need to have that conversation with my agent.

Thanks so much for the response, 217mom!
« Last Edit: January 13, 2020, 04:45:10 PM by ASchumacher23 »

Offline 217mom

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 48
  • Karma: 6
Re: Agent Response Times
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2020, 05:05:51 PM »
I should have added just as you did-- "not counting weekends and holidays." No, you're not unreasonable.  :yes:

I noted many in this business accept much longer response times. If this is clear and agreed upon (and adhered to) then longer turn around is fine, of course.  :up:

Important to add this only pertains to contracted clients. It bears no relation to unsolicited mail of any kind. You asked about YOUR agent. You're already in a business relationship.
Make sure you don't just check-in with nary a thing to say and expect a fast reply, although some writer/agent do have set check-in routines. Many don't, and some agents don't seem to respond to a "so is there anything new?" sort of email, though both of mine would, had I sent such. (No, I didn't/don't )

Offline ASchumacher23

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 3
  • Karma: 0
Re: Agent Response Times
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2020, 06:14:24 PM »
All good points. You are correct in that I am only asking about contracted clients. I don't tend to email my agent unless there's a pressing issue and/or I haven't heard anything in several months (as we're actively on submission). He's a good guy and agent, so I don't want to assume anything or make any impulsive decisions about our business arrangement just yet... But I suppose we'll see  :shrug:

I appreciate all of the input!

Offline tartrhubarb

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 2
  • Karma: 0
Re: Agent Response Times
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2020, 10:13:33 AM »
My agent can take up to a week if it's not something time-sensitive, but responds to urgent emails within a day or even hour. I think it's reasonable to expect variation in how long it takes agents to reply based off the urgency of the email, how many other clients they have, time of year, etc.

Offline Tabris

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5024
  • Karma: 1002
  • I rock!
Re: Agent Response Times
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2020, 08:58:37 AM »
When I had an agent, I tended to preface things with, "No response necessary," "Not urgent at all--take your time" and "I'd like to hear back soonish please." And then not over-use the "soonish" bits.

Interestingly, when I would do the "Not urgent," she frequently responded faster. I have no idea why. But I figured since we were both theoretically in the communications field, we should communicate our expectations. (Also, an agent who can't negotiate a compromise with his or her own client is probably not going to be a good negotiator when it comes to contracts either, so it's better to know how they respond to reasonable requests about timeframes.) :-D

Offline jackbenny39

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
  • Karma: 0
Re: Agent Response Times
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2021, 11:49:19 AM »
Hi all,

I am posting as a reply to this topic because my question is very similar to the original post, and I would love some insights/suggestions. My manuscript is currently out on submission, and I have not heard from my agent since January. She sent it out in October and has never sent me any information about where she has submitted it (with the exception of one specific editor, who ultimately rejected it but told her to re-submit it if no one else picked it up). I respect her time and e-mail her only when necessary (for instance, she requested that I start writing another book after the first one went on submission; I sent her my first three chapters, she sent me feedback, and that's the last I heard from her, even though I've sent her the revised chapters plus four additional chapters over the course of the past four months--I know feedback takes a long time, but was hoping for at least an acknowledgement that she had received them). A week ago I e-mailed to ask if any of the publishers/editors who had rejected it had offered any feedback that I could incorporate in my current work, and she has not responded.

Is this a fairly normal issue? In past e-mails I've asked for lists of places where she has submitted it and have yet to receive any. She's a great agent with a good reputation, and she's been very enthusiastic about my work the few times we've spoken on the phone--I guess I'm just not sure what my next steps are. Obviously I will keep working on my current project, but how often do you think it's reasonable for me to try to check in with her?

Thank you all for your thoughts!

Offline littlewritings

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 61
  • Karma: 12
Re: Agent Response Times
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2021, 12:05:41 PM »
My experience is limited to only one agent but here's what I'm used to: responses to my emails within 48 hours or at the very least within a week when it's a busy time and my question wasn't urgent, an ETA for feedback, a submission list of all editors the book will go to, monthly updates on rejections from editors. Feedback can take weeks or even months, but complete radio silence isn't normal in my opinion. (Although I will also say that all agents work differently.)

Did you talk to your agent about these things before you signed with her?

Offline jackbenny39

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
  • Karma: 0
Re: Agent Response Times
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2021, 12:53:12 PM »
Thank you so much for your responses! They are very helpful, and I really appreciate your taking the time to reach out. (Side note: The writing community is so wonderfully supportive!) I did not discuss check-ins or response times when I signed with her, which was definitely a foolish oversight on my part. The next time I reach out to her--which will probably be within a week or two--I'll ask if it would be possible to do monthly check-ins.

Thank you again! Good luck with all of your current and future writing adventures.

Offline Tabris

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5024
  • Karma: 1002
  • I rock!
Re: Agent Response Times
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2021, 06:14:08 AM »
Nudge her and don't apologize. You have a contract with this agent, so you're supposed to be a partnership. But just one question in the email so it's not too much.

Hi! Can you please send me the spreadsheet of which editors you've submitted to and the responses?

Janet Reid says she could reply to that one in about five minutes. If your agent won't give you that, it's a problem. Also, the behavior you're describing from your agent mimics the behavior I experienced from my agent when she'd mentally checked out from me.

There is nothing wrong with monthly check-ins. In fact, just start them. "Hi! This is my April check-in!" And the next time, "Hey! May check-in time!" You're not asking for a daily status update.

Offline jackbenny39

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
  • Karma: 0
Re: Agent Response Times
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2021, 05:07:41 AM »
That's a wonderful idea--thank you! And thank you for the reminder not to apologize for asking for information about where it has been submitted. It's so easy to fall into the "I'm so sorry to bother you" trap. I appreciate your insights!

Offline Viddiest

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 198
  • Karma: 30
Re: Agent Response Times
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2021, 07:02:49 PM »
Tabris, I've learnt more from you about communication etiquette than all the agent blogs I've read. If you blog already, please let me know. If not, you should think about it. :)

Offline Tabris

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5024
  • Karma: 1002
  • I rock!
Re: Agent Response Times
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2021, 04:32:34 PM »
Tabris, I've learnt more from you about communication etiquette than all the agent blogs I've read. If you blog already, please let me know. If not, you should think about it. :)

Thank you! I used to blog for QueryTracker, but that kind of fell by the wayside.

Offline DrCCat

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 46
  • Karma: 2
  • (The one and only)
Re: Agent Response Times
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2021, 01:39:56 AM »
"Don't call us, we'll call you" seems to be the name of the game
Aut inveniam viam aut faciam - attributed to General Hannibal