Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Loooong Wait

Regarding requested manuscripts...
I sent a query letter and the first 30pps of my manuscript to an agency back in mid August. In mid September the agent's assistant emailed me requesting the full. She said "we're looking forward to reading more." I followed up with an email January 7th to see if the assistant or the agent had gotten around to reading my MS. Have not heard back. (it is now Feb. 15) Does that mean rejection?

I think this is one of the rare cares where they're fair game for a phone call from you, simply because you've already reached the full stage and it's been an excessively long time.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

6 months and not a peep? I'd e-mail, pasting the assistant's email into the mail, and if no response within 1 day, then call. What timeframe did they give you upon requesting the full? None?

Which brings me to a question of my own. How about the the writer's "no-exclusive policy?"

As an agent requesting a ms, would you be turned off by a writer who replied to a request for a 4-week exclusive by saying, "Enclosed or attached is the requested ms. I wish to inform you, however, that I do not grant exclusives. I am simply seeking representation until I find it. This is not intended to pressure you for time. Please inform me of your decision at your earliest convenience."

I'm thinking of going with something like this, because, really, what advantages to the writer do exclisives offer? None.

Anonymous said...

I'd probably move on.

Anonymous said...

They gave me no timeframe for the read. I just sent them another email (replying to their MS request email), I guess then I'll call. The only reason I can think of for the lack of email response is the assistant doesn't work there anymore? (any other reasons, Rejecter?) I guess in that case it's time for the phone. The waiting is (needless to say) complete hell. A couple other places have requested my full, but these guys are my number one pick.

Anonymous said...

first anon, how about "The ms is already out with several other agents, but I will keep you informed if I hear from any of them". Less confrontational?

Anonymous said...

Well if they didn't give a timeframe, but they also didn't ask for an exclusive, then I guess it doesn't realyl matter since you're free to pursue other agents. But if they asked for an exclusive and then don't get back to you for 6 months...I would have gotten back to them after 2 months.

Anonymous said...

It never hurts to give them a call. As an editor, I can honestly say that while we try to get things out quickly, things happen. Manuscripts get put in the wrong pile and temporarily forgotten until they are unearthed months later. Letters/manuscripts get lost in the mail. Company spam filters accidentally filter out mail that should have gone through (even from people with whom you have been communicating). Just as long as you don't make it sound like you feel we aren't doing our jobs, most of us are happy to look you up in our log and give you an estimate.

Anonymous said...

first anon, how about "The ms is already out with several other agents, but I will keep you informed if I hear from any of them".

I guess that's pretty good.

Deb said...

Anon 1:36, I don't think informing them that you don't grant exclusives is your best choice. I'm told that agents assume you're sending the MS out to several at a time, and they don't discuss exclusives until they hae the full MS. I would let the agency first use that word. No agent gets 6 months' crack at a book of mine unless it's also circulating elsewhere.

My take.

Anonymous said...

No,I'm not saying to come out of the gate saying I don't grant exclusives, I was just sasying IF they ask for the full ms AND with an exclusive, of saying that I don't grant exclusives...but I might as well just say the ms is "already out with several agents" which is suitably vague and gets the point across without beinbg confrontational.

The Rejecter said...

I had an experience with an agent who wanted an exclusive of my manuscript when I already had it out to several other agents. That's precisely what I told her, and she asked to have a few weeks to look it over, and during those few weeks, I would agree not to send it out to anyone ELSE. I found the terms agreeable. She eventually passed on it, but another agent it was currently with is now my agent.

X said...

When is it appropriate to call them? How long do you have to wait? A month? What is the proper etiquette?

wonderer said...

What if the agent who requests an exclusive is the first agent to request your full? How do you politely decline? Is it sufficient to say that you already have partials out with other agents? And what if you don't have any partials out either?

Anonymous said...

I've twice been burned by assistants who request a full, then leave the agency without ever responding. Apparently they feel absolutely no responsibility toward the ms they've requested, and neither do their agencies. If you want some idea of usual agent turnaround times, go to http://community.livejournal.com/agentturnaround/, where writers post their experiences.

Colt Foutz said...

Definitely follow up! First of all, out of respect for your time. Second, for the agency's: they did say they were looking forward to reading it. You never know what might have happened to cause the delay. For example -- and it's a teeth-chattering one -- my e-mail was giving me fits when I was querying and submitting my nonfiction manuscript in '06-'07. Certain e-mails were getting through to agencies that requested fulls and partials, others weren't. !!! Ultimately, I got a request from my current publisher after querying in Nov. 2006. I sent him the files the minute I got off the phone with him, only to hear through a contact in FEBRUARY, "hey, why didn't I ever get the stuff the author promised to send." Yikes. I've probably over-compensated by switching accounts and double-checking *everything* that's gone out since then, and the story in this case ended happily, but the example should say something for our reliance on quick technology today -- sometimes it backfires. Follow up.

X said...

I think the Amish are on to something.

Anonymous said...

Rejecter:

What about a partial at 6 months, is that a phone call too or just an email?

I have several partials that have been out for 6-10 months. I've been patient, but I can't stand the wait any more.

Anonymous said...

Hiya.
Original poster here, "Anonymous." Well, I finally sucked it up and called... spoke w/ the assistant who requested my MS back in Sept. They haven't read it yet. The reason for no response on the followup emails: "Due to the volume of submissions we're not always able to get back to people." I'm glad I called though, the assistant sounds very nice, and I guess I feel better knowing that my rejection hasn't been lost in the mail-- but, boy, 5 1/2 months is a LOOOONG wait. A couple of other places have requested my MS, so we'll see what that turnaround time is. I'm really new to all this, so, Rejecter, thanks for the advice.