Friday, June 17, 2011

When has an agent had my partial for too long?

From when I was gone, I asked you, the lovely reader, to ask me questions and/or suggestions for future blog posts. I'm back. I'm (mostly) caught up with work. And now I'm answering your questions in segments. And asking for more questions. Here's the time to find out all you can about the agent (remember most everything is subjective and does not apply to all agents). 

If an agent requests a partial of your ms, how long should you wait before following up? Firstly, check the agent's website for specifics. Most reply in 6-8 weeks. But some don't send rejection letters (in which case, assume it's a no).

The question was, can I ask the agent about it after six months? Answer: The agent has already moved on. But yes, you can follow up. You can do it after two or three months. But please, don't do it within two months. Personally, sometimes I'll let them build up then tackle them all at the two month mark (sometimes it's the only way, though I hate doing it).

And please DO NOT email and say "well, since I haven't heard back I'm assuming it's a no, thanks for taking a look anyway I guess." It doesn't make a good impression and we'll roll our eyes at you (we are immune to the sad puppy face. Just email very nicely and ask if the agent has had a chance to take a look and has received the materials (sometimes, for whatever reason, the cyber trolls eat your emails). If you don't get a reply to that email, then sit quietly. We have probably taken note of your email but were too busy at the time to respond, or chose not to respond.

Happy querying!


Anne R. Allen said...

What about an agent who's had a full for 9 months? I've since had an offer from a small press. I assume the agent has just chucked my ms. in the trash without bothering to tell me, but is there some reason I should tell her it's been placed?

Heather said...

I know a lot of people wonder about this, myself included. Thank you for clearing it up for us!

Unknown said...

I REALLY can't believe you're immune to that sad puppy face. He's so unbelievably CUTE!! LOL

Anonymous said...

Very helpful

Charlie N. Holmberg said...

That picture makes me want to cry. I will never be an agent.

Thanks for the tip!

LupLun said...

You get immune to it after awhile. When I see that picture, for example, I want to kick him across the room for not respecting his proud lupine heritage.

I know, I am a very bad person.

Lupines and Lunatics

Melanie said...

Hi Vickie.

Thanks for opening the mic (so to speak). Just wondering whether or not you (or agents in general) usually give comments/feedback to partials or fulls that you reject. One of the hardest things for me so far in the querying process is not knowing why it was rejected. I get that agents can't respond to every query, but only so many partials and even less fulls, are requested. I've been told my writing is strong and my story has great voice and the story is unique (by 8 different beat readers), but after being rejected on a partial, I have no idea what to think or what to fix/change to the beginning. Or whether it was just not for that particular agent for some unknown reason.


Anonymous said...

Agents depend on writers, so not responding appears unreasonable. Writers deserve a reply within reasonable time. 6 months? Pfft!

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