Monday, February 04, 2008

More Questions from the Email Back-up

Of the queries I’ve sent out, 2 agents requested the full MS and one recently asked for a partial. My question: What is a reasonable or accepted length of time to wait before asking for feedback?

For a full or a partial, it's fair to give them an email after 3 months.

Do agents get turned off if they get queries from other countries? I live in Brazil and I'll be seeking representation at some point. I did live in the US for five years and came back a year ago to Brazil, so I do speak English fluently.

No. In fact, my boss particularly likes foreign writers, because she does a lot of work in foreign rights, and she's very interested in the international situation. In general, agents don't care where the manuscript came from so long as it's written in English.

I read somewhere that a huge novel like Shogun wouldn't even get published today, which I have a hard time believing. Do you think that's true?

No. In general, we give historical fiction and sweeping epics a much larger acceptable word count than we do with a mystery or click-lit, just as historical movies tend to be longer in running time than romantic comedies. It's mainly about the public and their attention span, which is tuned to certain expectations of time/length and it's our business to know them.

In general, it's not wise to go over 200,000 words on your first novel. That's really quite long and it would take us a massive effort to consider it, accept it, edit it, and sell it to a publisher. Then again, there are always exceptions to the rule.


Anonymous said...

This is the skinniest of links to the Shogun question, but what the heck--I'll shoot. My women's fiction is out on partial to several agents (yay!), but I recently (ahem, last night) decided to go ahead and trim out a couple of characters, and now I'm at about 63K words (from closer to 75K before). I am planning on adding some fresh work to some of the remaining characters, but not sure how long it will end up as a result.

My question is--is it too short for the genre now, at least for a first time author?


Rick Bylina said...

200,000 words. Holy Guacamole!!!

Because of investment considerations, I've heard it preached that first time novelist should try to keep their novel in the 60-90K range. That still holding true in general?

Thanks in advance.

The Rejecter said...

It's more like a 70K - 100K range. I don't have a problem with 60K books, but some agents think they're too short.