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Thread: When to prod?

  1. #1
    Banned RJLeahy's Avatar
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    When to prod?

    Sent query with first ten pages to agent I'm very interested in working with. Received quick, complimentary request for full. Waited a month and queried as to whether the manuscript had been received. Quick and pleasant response that yes, MS received but he had been overwhelmed with work and he would get to it in the next two weeks. That was two months ago. Continue to wait, prod, or just assume he's not interested?

  2. #2
    The 1st Rule of Write Club: Write! Jamiekswriter's Avatar
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    Hi RJ,

    I'd continue to wait. Prod again at the three month mark (after your last prod). Continue to send out queries. I've waited 9 months to a year on an answer to full requests. (And some I've never heard back from).

    Check query tracker to see if you can find out what the normal wait time on a full is.

    Good luck! Hope you hear soon! -- Jamie
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  3. #3
    Fantastic! zegota's Avatar
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    Does he have an exclusive look at this full, or are you querying other agents?
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  4. #4
    Banned RJLeahy's Avatar
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    Zegota,

    Not exclusive

  5. #5
    Fantastic! zegota's Avatar
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    In that case, I'd definitely wait another month or two, if you decide to prod at all. After that time, if you haven't had any other bites and this is an agent you're REALLY interested in, you could consider sending a "what's up?"
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  6. #6
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin cjcurrie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zegota View Post
    In that case, I'd definitely wait another month or two, if you decide to prod at all. After that time, if you haven't had any other bites and this is an agent you're REALLY interested in, you could consider sending a "what's up?"
    From what I've heard, Zegota's got it right.

  7. #7
    not sure...
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    If an agent gives a specific time frame such as 'I'll get back to you in three weeks', how long after the three weeks should you wait to prod them?
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  8. #8
    Making my own sunshine AW Moderator heyjude's Avatar
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    I agree with waiting 3 months, RJ.

    Quote Originally Posted by BethKLewis View Post
    If an agent gives a specific time frame such as 'I'll get back to you in three weeks', how long after the three weeks should you wait to prod them?
    Is it your agent, or an agent you're querying? If it were my agent, I'd give him an extra couple of weeks before a nudge. If it were an agent I was querying, it would depend on whether s/he had a full or partial. If it's a full, I'd wait, IDK, another month or so? And reply in the same email.

    The truth is that agents are incredibly busy, and despite their best efforts, it seems to be rare that they meet the specific timeframe they set out. Be patient. (Easier said, right?)

  9. #9
    Queen of the Upmarket Bagladies HoneyBadger's Avatar
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    QueryTracker has stats for rough turn-around times on both queries and submissions.

    Warning: if you're at all obsessive, it might not be a good idea, as it's really easy to check the Data Explorer for your agents a trillion zillion times a day.

  10. #10
    My New Cat Is Too Big for Shoulders Corinne Duyvis's Avatar
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    I... have the Data Explorer open right now.

    So yeah, what HoneyBadger said. (I think the Data Explorer may be premium-only though, so as long as you guard your credit card, you're fine.)
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  11. #11
    Sardonicus Rex J.Reid's Avatar
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    Keep querying. Prod politely. Blocks of time to read manuscripts are harder and harder to find.

  12. #12
    Professor of applied misanthropy Drachen Jager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.Reid View Post
    Keep querying. Prod politely. Blocks of time to read manuscripts are harder and harder to find.
    So I'm noticing. Even queries seem to be taking abnormally long right now. Is it just that it's convention/expo season or are agents generally busier than before?

  13. #13
    figuring it all out
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drachen Jager View Post
    So I'm noticing. Even queries seem to be taking abnormally long right now. Is it just that it's convention/expo season or are agents generally busier than before?
    From what I've read, agents are overwhelmed with submissions. Some agents get up to 500 submissions a week. It's daunting when you think about it (I try not to think about it!). Also, some agents have assistants who screen the queries. If an assistant doesn't like a query, he or she will send a form rejection instead of passing it on to the agent.

  14. #14
    Making my own sunshine AW Moderator heyjude's Avatar
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    That's been true for a while now, rac. I think Drachen was referring to Ms. Reid's post on blocks of time being harder to find now than before.

  15. #15
    Professor of applied misanthropy Drachen Jager's Avatar
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    Yeah. I don't think there's a sudden flood of queries over the past two months, but responses have gone from a reasonable flow, to a trickle, to a desert.

  16. #16
    crazy mean SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rac View Post
    ... some agents have assistants who screen the queries. If an assistant doesn't like a query, he or she will send a form rejection instead of passing it on to the agent.
    Agents' assistants don't reject work simply because they don't like it. They are very carefully briefed before they're let loose on the slush pile and only reject the submissions they can be absolutely certain that the agents won't want to look at: submissions in genres the agents don't represent, for example, or work that's really badly written.

    I know I'm being nitpicky yet again: but lately I've been seeing more claims than usual that it's unfair to writers to let unqualified assistants and interns sort through the slush pile because they won't know what they're doing, which isn't accurate, isn't fair on the interns and assistants, and misleads writers.

  17. #17
    On a wing and a prayer aruna's Avatar
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    I can only echo Old Hack. My agent's assitant was a dream. Whenever she recommended something I had written, he read it immediately. Unfortunately, she left for California and some other kind of work (this is the second time I've been left in the lurch this way!) There's a new assistant, but I have no idea what she's like, what she reads, how she works; our communication has been very formal up to now. I really miss the first one!
    Last edited by aruna; 08-11-2012 at 10:07 AM.

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  18. #18
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    All I have to say is this: I hate the letters A S A P.

    I want to start a whole thread on how much I hate those letters, but I'll settle for this little post.

  19. #19
    Last of a Dying Breed popmuze's Avatar
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    In the last six weeks I've sent out 33 queries and 7 status update requests, and only heard back on 7=3 requests for pages, 4 rejections. Used to be I'd get responses the same day, now I'm lucky to get one a week. The really chilling thing is not hearing anything on a requested full, even after you politely prod a few times.
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  20. #20
    Professor of applied misanthropy Drachen Jager's Avatar
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    It's all quiet on my end too Popmuze. Not quite as quiet as you, but very close. The past two weeks in particular have been dead.

    I sent out a few queries today and yesterday and got a couple of 'out of office' responses. One said they were at a writer's festival, so hopefully there's a gap in that sort of thing next week so all the agents can get back to us.

    I have a couple of fulls that are past their 'best before' dates as well.

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