Friday, November 07, 2008

Response Times Based on Length

Dear Rejecter,

I sent out queries to 5 agencies on 10/10. I got a request for a full MS on 10/20 (which I was able to email the next day). How long does it usually take to get a response, either positive or negative? I write middle grade fiction and it was approximately 43,000 words long - so a relatively quick read for an adult.

I realize that even requested material has to stand in line & the agent probably has dozens upon dozens of other manuscripts to look through, but I thought that you folks could make a pretty quick negative decision based on the first few pages.

Should I take it as a good sign that I haven't yet received a rejection? Or, should I send an email to the assistant who requested my manuscript and ask how things are going & whether or not they've had a chance to look over my MS?

Just wondering.

I think most people would agree that you probably have solid material there for such a high hit rate and you should not be worried. Nervous, but not worried. Sounds like you're going to get an agent unless your query was horribly misleading.

As to response times, they vary not based on the length of the book but when we get around to reading partials. Yes, we can sometimes reject after 5 pages, but most of the time a partial was requested for a reason and unless the prose is absolutely hideous, we will read until we see a reason to stop (or if you're paid hourly, you will read the whole thing). So if there's been no response, it's because the agent hasn't gotten to it yet. Length is not a huge issue, unless it was 700 pages. Then they might put it off until all the minor stuff was done.