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Thread: Advanced Version: Laggards or Lost Causes

  1. #1
    Ruled by Dachshunds smallthunder's Avatar
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    Advanced Version: Laggards or Lost Causes

    I originally posted along these lines on "Ask An Agent," but I haven't received responses there, so I think I should "Ask Those Who Know Agents" ...

    How long should one wait before contacting an agent after one has sent a partial manuscript (at the agent's request, of course)?

    Or, to be more precise: How long should one wait before pulling all of one's hair out while waiting for a response from an agent after one has sent a partial manuscript (at the agent's request, of course)?

    In other words, what is considered a "normal" or "professional" amount of time for an agent to be considering chapters before getting back to the author?

    My hairstylist and I thank you in advance for your insight --
    "'Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with,' the Mock Turtle replied; 'and then the different branches of arithmetic -- Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision.'

  2. #2
    Elder Scrolls devotee
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    Did they give you an idea of their usual response time? If they did, I usually double it before following up.

    I'm waiting for a response on a requested partial right now. I sent it mid-March. Their usual response time is 2-4 weeks, according to their web site. I'm planning to follow up mid-May if I haven't heard anything by then.

    Try to go easy on your hair. In the meantime, you've been querying other agents and working on your next novel, right?

  3. #3
    Ruled by Dachshunds smallthunder's Avatar
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    Frustration!
    I'm trying not to do anything silly. So, for now, I'm only pulling out those grey hairs ...
    As for querying other agents -- I actually have eight separate agents reading partial manuscripts (chapters), so I haven't been sending out any additional query letters. Do you think I should? On average, I've been waiting six weeks since mailing off the chapters.
    "'Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with,' the Mock Turtle replied; 'and then the different branches of arithmetic -- Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision.'

  4. #4
    Elder Scrolls devotee
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    I'd wait until you hear from some of the agents that have the partials before sending out more queries. If any of them comment on what you submitted, you'll want to consider the feedback before sending the chapters out again.

  5. #5
    Gone
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    Quote Originally Posted by smallthunder
    Or, to be more precise: How long should one wait before pulling all of one's hair out while waiting for a response from an agent after one has sent a partial manuscript (at the agent's request, of course)?
    smallthunder, did the agent ask you for an exclusive? (Since it was a partial, I'm assuming not.) If so, you should wait out the term you agreed on. Otherwise, waiting to hear back from the agents who have partials to see if they have any comments you'll want to consider before sending out more is good advice. Are you researching other agents while you wait? And writing your next book? Leave your poor hair alone. It won't get better if you keep picking at it. *g*

  6. #6
    I write stuff and break boards. dragonjax's Avatar
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    Actually, I wouldn't wait at all. Based on the requests you've received, it's clear your query is a winner. Keep pitching, even when you have agents reading your full MS. Why wait?

    And, of course, good luck!
    "Undying Love," a short story by Jackie Kessler in FANTASY FOR GOOD - a charity anthology to help fight colon cancer

  7. #7
    Ruled by Dachshunds smallthunder's Avatar
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    "Based on the requests you've received, it's clear your query is a winner. Keep pitching ..."

    Of the 24 agents I sent my query letter to, 11 agents replied requesting partial manuscripts ... 3 subsequently declined, and the other 8 are taking their time getting back to me.

    This leads me to believe that I should just chuck my historical novel, and just offer as a manuscript 300 or so copies of the query letter ...

    I'm sure that somebody -- like PA! -- would be delighted to publish this new & improved manscript.

    Whaddya think? Got a winner here?
    "'Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with,' the Mock Turtle replied; 'and then the different branches of arithmetic -- Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision.'

  8. #8
    Clever title pending. MarkEsq's Avatar
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    How long do I wait?

    After reviewing the first 100 pages of my novel, an agent asked to see the remainder. That was just over two months ago, and I have been very restrained and patient in my waiting (I have only just starting rushing the mailman).
    My question: how I long do I have to wait before I can send a polite "How long will you take to decide?" email (which is how we have communicated thus far).
    I don't want to harass the guy into making the wrong (i.e. "no&quot decision, but neither do I want to wait around for my "no" and delay my sending it out to other agents.
    Suggestions/comments?!

  9. #9
    laodum
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    I see nothing wrong with sending him a short e-mail asking about the status of your book.

    Linda

  10. #10
    Preditors & Editors Requiescat In Pace DaveKuzminski's Avatar
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    The first 100? Who is the agent? I must admit I'm curious about that. Use email or private message is you prefer instead of answering here.
    When it comes to PA, the royalty check and the reality check arrive in the same envelope.

    Remember to be kind to writers who step in PA. They really don't know how bad it smells.

    The difference between PA and WLA? None. Both have the stench of dead and dying books emanating from their doorways.


  11. #11
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Would you want to still work with this agent in the event he did offer to sell your manuscript? If yes, then you probably do need to be careful in your approach. I personally would wonder if this is how he does business (not getting back with people) and so I would probably either send him an email asking if he is still reviewing the pages (because someone else has shown an interest but you still want to give him priority -- something like that) or just move on to the next agent.

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