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View Full Version : How Long to wait (for replies to query letters & synopses)


Kaylee
08-04-2010, 10:09 PM
I sent out by snail-mail several query and synopsis letters around the middle of May. I haven't heard anything back from any of the agents. How long should I wait before I re query or send more out to other agents?

cate townsend
08-04-2010, 10:24 PM
Keep sending out to other agents. Don't wait. There will be agents you never hear back from, and others that will take a very long time. Keep your query active and circulating.

Kaylee
08-04-2010, 10:30 PM
Thanks, I send more out. I can't believe I never heard from any of them though.

dgrintalis
08-04-2010, 10:37 PM
Kaylee, a lot of agents are no response=no interest. Send out queries to the next agents on your list.

Danthia
08-04-2010, 11:47 PM
Keep sending. Three months isn't unusual on response time, so they're just at the edge of that. You might check their websites or blogs and see if any say how long it usually takes them to respond. Wait 30 days past that, and either nudge or re-query.

Theresa
08-05-2010, 12:01 AM
I think that three months is quite a short time when it comes to querying. You should keep on querying and start writing the next novel / short story / whatever while waiting ;)

Good luck!

stormie
08-05-2010, 12:08 AM
How many queries did you send out? I recommend about ten at first, and wait to see at least one response. (You should hear something from one of them within about four months. Esp. if a lot of agents are on vacation, it can be a longer wait.) Then when a rejection or request for a partial comes in, send out another query to another agency, and so forth.

If you get all rejections or no responses, you might want to see if your query needs a little work.

While waiting, work on something else.

CaroGirl
08-05-2010, 12:13 AM
How many queries did you send out? I recommend about ten at first, and wait to see at least one response. (You should hear something from one of them within about four months. Esp. if a lot of agents are on vacation, it can be a longer wait.) Then when a rejection or request for a partial comes in, send out another query to another agency, and so forth.

If you get all rejections or no responses, you might want to see if your query needs a little work.

While waiting, work on something else.
^^^^^^^^^
This.

Jamesaritchie
08-05-2010, 03:30 AM
You can send a polite inquiry now. I don't believe in oversending to agents. If no one is reponding, or if they're responding with form rejections, your query isn't doing the job. You need to rework it before sending out another batch.

Kaylee
08-05-2010, 05:39 AM
Okay so I rewrite the query and synopsis and resend. Do I resend to the seven agents or wait another month or two to do so. Thank you for all your advice.

abctriplets
08-05-2010, 07:23 AM
Okay so I rewrite the query and synopsis and resend. Do I resend to the seven agents or wait another month or two to do so. Thank you for all your advice.

Did you write a new book? If so, sure, send a query for it to those same agents again.

Stijn Hommes
08-05-2010, 01:04 PM
If no response = no interest, then how is Kaylee supposed to know the query was even received? I know most of publishers get stacks of submissions, but I find this way of working just wrong. Sending back a SASE with a form rejection or a quick standard email takes time, but at least it means you act like a professional.

Lydia Sharp
08-05-2010, 04:23 PM
First... did you include an SASE? If not, you won't receive a response of any kind, good or bad.

Have you tried e-querying? Agents who accept e-queries usually respond much much faster, sometimes within minutes or hours. When I saw how long you've been waiting without response, I nearly choked. That's a lot of wasted time, in my opinion, especially if you're just waiting on a query response. Waiting to hear back on an ms is quite another matter, but queries? Two months, tops. If they have a no response = no thanks policy, I'd assume they're not interested at this point.

I'm also wondering if you read their sub guides closely enough. In my experience, it's rare NOT to find an agency's policies on such things as expected response times, and when it would be okay to send an inquiry regarding receipt of the query.

I would suggest posting your query letter for critique in QLH, if you haven't already.

Lydia Sharp
08-05-2010, 04:29 PM
If no response = no interest, then how is Kaylee supposed to know the query was even received? I know most of publishers get stacks of submissions, but I find this way of working just wrong. Sending back a SASE with a form rejection or a quick standard email takes time, but at least it means you act like a professional.

It's a risk you have to take, and only if you believe that particular agent is worth it.

Professionalism (or lack of) really has nothing to do with it, though. There are plenty of legit agents/agencies who hold to the No Response Means No Thanks policy. It just means they're busy and they get A LOT of queries. And they might not have (or want) assistants to help them with slush.

I actually blogged about this yesterday (http://lydiasharp.blogspot.com/2010/08/no-response-means-no-thanks_04.html), if you're interested in discussing it further.

seun
08-05-2010, 06:21 PM
if they're responding with form rejections, your query isn't doing the job.

Or that's just how they reply.

nitaworm
08-05-2010, 06:39 PM
Send out some every week. That's what I do when I'm querying.

RJK
08-05-2010, 08:06 PM
I received a rejection 7 months after I sent the query. I had written the agent off long before that.
Sending Queries in the summer is usually a waste of time. Thats when agents take their vacations and even if they're in the office, not much happens because everyone else in the industry is on vacation. I'd wait a few weeks before bothering to send queries, they're only going to gather dust anyway.

Lydia Sharp
08-05-2010, 08:14 PM
Sending Queries in the summer is usually a waste of time. Thats when agents take their vacations and even if they're in the office, not much happens because everyone else in the industry is on vacation. I'd wait a few weeks before bothering to send queries, they're only going to gather dust anyway.

It's generally not a good idea to make blanket statements.

This is a HUGE misconception. My query results are proof of that. I've received 5 manuscript requests within the last 4 weeks. I just started querying July 1.

If you want to see an agent's thoughts on the matter, click HERE (http://literaticat.blogspot.com/2010/07/mythbusting-101.html).

Waiting is not going to make an agent any less busy. The only month I would consider off limits is December, unless the agent states otherwise.

scope
08-05-2010, 08:34 PM
Think of it this way. The agent has a very large stack of inquiries that need to be read. Unless you are someone special, your inquiry when received will go to the very bottom of the list. The longer you wait to submit and be placed in the pile, the more inquiries that will proceed you. With this in mind I submit whenever I or my agent is ready, not when the calendar would seem to dictate so.

Kaylee
08-05-2010, 10:46 PM
Thank you for all your advice. I sent a SASE with them. I also followed each agents guide lines. I have Rich text on my E-mail , BUT when I send the letters by E-mail they still are received scrambled. That is why I sent them snail mail. I looked up each agency to see who excepted snail-mail. I had my niece a English teacher proof read my query and synopsis. I didn't put them on QLH. Should I do this?

DeadlyAccurate
08-06-2010, 04:15 AM
Don't send your emails in rich text. Send them in plain text. That will strip them of any odd formatting issues that might come across weird.

As for QLH, that's up to you. It will whip your query into shape if you're willing to listen to the suggestions, but it's not like it's required.

thephoenix
08-06-2010, 06:08 AM
one agency took 4 months to reply to my query :/

Susan Littlefield
08-06-2010, 06:41 AM
I'm not to the stage of querying for my novel yet, but I sure am learning a lot!

Kaylee
08-06-2010, 07:16 AM
Okay I am going to send my query to my self in plain text and see what happens. Thanks.

abctriplets
08-06-2010, 08:05 AM
Don't send your emails in rich text. Send them in plain text. That will strip them of any odd formatting issues that might come across weird.

Didn't even think to check if my queries were going out as rich text. Crap. Well, that explains why my italics in my page samples were still italicized (I had wondered why when I cut-and-pasted that it still looked the same...)