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Old 11-13-2012, 04:26 AM   #1
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No response to full – possible blocked email?

About four months ago I sent a query to an agent using their agency’s online form. A few days later I got an email from the agent asking for the full. I replied with the full the same day. I was pretty happy, especially as the agency has a reputation for long waiting times.

I did not get a confirmation that my full was received. After no response I sent a polite nudge at the three month mark. Now almost a month later, I still have gotten no response.

My worry is that my emails never even reached the agent. I used the same email to send both the full and the nudge. Their online form is mandatory to submit queries to them, and they say on their website that email (query) submissions will be blocked. Perhaps my email was not put on their whitelist after my successful query?

I realize variations on this concern have been very popular lately. From reading here, it’s possible that the agent’s just done a no-response rejection of my full, including ignoring my nudge. Or perhaps I’m being too hasty, they’re behind on work and missed my nudge. However I'd hate to miss a possible chance due to what might be a simple mistake.

Would it be out of line for me to call or contact the agent/agency about this?
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Old 11-13-2012, 05:01 AM   #2
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Check Agent Query for the agent and see if he/she has a separate email address.

Have no idea what you should do if can't find another contact other than to move on to another agent. There is nothing holding you back at this point...
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Old 11-13-2012, 06:47 AM   #3
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If you can't get in touch with them via email, then I think this is one of those rare occasions where a phone call would not be a bad idea. They did request the full, and three months without a peep is a matter of concern.

But yes, try to exhaust online methods of contacting them first.
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:43 AM   #4
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Well, I've checked AgentQuery, Querytracker, various interviews the agent has done... they all point to the email I was using and a note to send submissions via the online form.

I could try emailing another agent within the agency, but that doesn't seem very tactful at all. I may have to resort to a phone call.

And just to note, I'm working on another book at the moment and preparing a new query for the book this agent took an interest in. So otherwise I am trying to keep busy.
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Old 11-14-2012, 11:08 PM   #5
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Well, I've checked AgentQuery, Querytracker, various interviews the agent has done... they all point to the email I was using and a note to send submissions via the online form.

I could try emailing another agent within the agency, but that doesn't seem very tactful at all. I may have to resort to a phone call.

And just to note, I'm working on another book at the moment and preparing a new query for the book this agent took an interest in. So otherwise I am trying to keep busy.
Sounds like you're doing all you can do.

Let us know the result of the phone call. I'm interested!
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Old 11-24-2012, 11:39 PM   #6
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I've gone through this before. It just might be no-response rejection on the agent's part. It wasn't this bad in years past. Even months past. It's getting much worse how agents are treating authors. They request the full and even after a few nudges, nothing. I just can't wrap my head around such neglection. How hard is it to just respond and say "no, thanks." You read it on these boards all the time.

Out of all the requests for fulls, it's happened to me 3 times.
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:17 AM   #7
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In my very humble opinion, a querier should NEVER call an agency unprompted. You can try creating an alternate email account (if you use gmail, use something else. If you use a different email system, try gmail.) a four-month wait on a full is not long at all in the publishing world.

Coincidentally, agent Janet Reid just answered a similar question on her blog:
http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/...emporioum.html
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:50 AM   #8
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I'd call them. You don't have to hassle the agent him/herself, just tell whoever answers the phone what's happened, check you have the right email address and ask them to clarify their policy on replying/not replying.

Of course agents are busy people, and phoning every day to say, "Have you read my book? Have you now? How about now?" etc is out of order, but a polite call in this instance would be fine imo.
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Old 11-25-2012, 03:05 AM   #9
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Would an old-fashioned first-class snail-mail letter (and of course including an SASE or a return postcard along with email address and phone number, as done just a few short years ago when many agents didn't accept email submissions) be appropriate? Those don't get block by spam filters.
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Old 11-25-2012, 05:13 AM   #10
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At the risk of sounding like a party pooper, I have another link on this subject, this time from agent Rachelle Gardner, with the same message as agent Reid: don't call unless you are an actual client... http://www.rachellegardner.com/2012/...call-an-agent/

I understand wanting confirmation that your submission was received...but, based on several agent blogs and interviews, the consensus seems to be that queriers should not call. Email...or use a new email...or, I suppose, snail mail (as ben suggested) makes sense...but don't make yourself a nuisance to someone you hope to have a business relationship with.
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Old 11-25-2012, 05:45 AM   #11
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Four months is not that long for a full, and no response to a nudge is not that unusual. Unless you know that the agent has an auto-response that you didn't get, I would assume your novel is in a TBR pile and that she'll respond when she gets to it.

When I got an offer, 2 agents that had had my full for 6 months and ignored one or two status queries replied within a day of my "I have an offer" e-mail. They had received the full just fine.
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Old 11-25-2012, 11:09 AM   #12
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I wasn't going to respond just yet to this thread (for reasons I'll mention momentarily), but I guess I'd better update.

I called the agency almost a week and a half ago, the 15th. I got the answering machine and left a message with the basics of who I was and the problem (though I'm horribly nervous with phones, so I hope it came out coherent). I haven't gotten a reply of any sort, so I have not spoken to anyone in person. I was going to wait a bit further to respond to this thread because I thought saying 'I got the answering machine!' would be anti-climactic.

Aside from this being a holiday week (I just got back from vacation, myself), the agency is located in an area that was slammed by Hurricane Sandy. So there's likely an extra delay in addition to any standard agency delay.

...Anyway. I can't take back the phone message I already left. I won't send anything else because I don't want to be a bother. I'm almost done with a new version of my query, which I'll be sticking up on QLH for another round. Once it somehow gets up to professional standard, I'll be querying other agents again. I'll let this agent alone. I think I've done all I reasonably can.

Thank you all for your advice. I appreciate it, and I'll keep it in mind if this situation comes up again.
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Old 11-26-2012, 03:27 PM   #13
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Yeah, well it's unfortunate, but not surprising. As I mentioned it sucks the way agents treat authors sometimes. You're just another number to them. Even when you're a client, you're treated differently then the cash cows of the agency, especially if your work doesn't sell. If you're going to query other agents, like you should, expect it to happen again (the no response even after request.)
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Old 11-26-2012, 04:06 PM   #14
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Yeah, well it's unfortunate, but not surprising. As I mentioned it sucks the way agents treat authors sometimes. You're just another number to them. Even when you're a client, you're treated differently then the cash cows of the agency, especially if your work doesn't sell. If you're going to query other agents, like you should, expect it to happen again (the no response even after request.)
(bolding mine) Blanket generalizations are seldom true. If you haven't checked this statement with every agency, then it is incorrect.
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Old 11-26-2012, 04:10 PM   #15
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I must say, I think this increasingly common "No response means no" policy is just lazy, rude and shitty. How hard is it to set up an auto-reply system that says, "We have received your submission. If you have not heard from us within X weeks, please take it to mean that we are not interested in representing you." Still rude and shitty but at least an acknowledgement.
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Old 11-26-2012, 04:39 PM   #16
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Yeah, well it's unfortunate, but not surprising. As I mentioned it sucks the way agents treat authors sometimes. You're just another number to them. Even when you're a client, you're treated differently then the cash cows of the agency, especially if your work doesn't sell. If you're going to query other agents, like you should, expect it to happen again (the no response even after request.)
Undercover.

You obviously don't know many literary agents, and don't understand how they work, and rely on inaccurate blogs and sensationalist articles for your information.

Don't do this. It won't help you in your writing career, and it certainly won't help you make friends here at AW.

Literary agents are, on the whole, hardworking people who care passionately about the writers and books they represent. Yes, there are a few bad ones; but almost all of the agents I've known over the years have been good at their jobs, and have done all they could to look after their author-clients.

Let's have less of the sniping and more accuracy from you in future, please.

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I must say, I think this increasingly common "No response means no" policy is just lazy, rude and shitty.
A friend of mine who is a literary agent recently introduced this policy, with great reluctance. She's far from lazy, rude or shitty; in fact, she's one of the best agents in the UK, and all of her clients have enjoyed huge success with her help and guidance; but if you like I'll pass your name and comments onto her so that she knows what you think of her.

None of us like the "no means no" policy. But agents don't introduce it lightly. They do it because they don't have time to respond properly. If they received fewer submissions they would have that time; and most of the submissions they receive aren't appropriate for them, or are so bad they are simply unpublishable. If writers researched potential agents better, and/or revised their work more carefully, and only submitted their best work, then this policy would probably not be needed. We're culpable here, I'm afraid.

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How hard is it to set up an auto-reply system that says, "We have received your submission. If you have not heard from us within X weeks, please take it to mean that we are not interested in representing you." Still rude and shitty but at least an acknowledgement.
I assume that literary agencies do provide that email acknowledgement: as you said, it's not difficult to set up.

As for it still being "rude and shitty": you're in danger there of breaking AW's one rule of Respect Your Fellow Writer, as was Undercover in her earlier post.

AW has several members who are or were literary agents. Instead of condemning them for this and calling them names, which I find hugely unacceptable, just so you know, you might like to find out why this is becoming a common policy and think about what led to it being introduced. It wasn't because agents were receiving too much good work or because writers were being nice to the agents who rejected them, that's for sure.
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Old 11-26-2012, 04:44 PM   #17
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Old 11-26-2012, 04:45 PM   #18
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It wasn't because agents were receiving too much good work or because writers were being nice to the agents who rejected them, that's for sure.
This will always boggle my mind.

There are stories out there where agents have been the targets for rejected writer backlash and still we get people who want to insist that 'they would never do that' and therefore should somehow be given magical exempt status.

...never taking into account that the agent doesn't know and can't know they are ZOMG different. Or that the agent has most likely heard that before and the writer still freaked out when rejected, as if by the writer insisting they are different it would give them a leg up in consideration.
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Old 11-26-2012, 04:47 PM   #19
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Yeah, well it's unfortunate, but not surprising. As I mentioned it sucks the way agents treat authors sometimes. You're just another number to them. Even when you're a client, you're treated differently then the cash cows of the agency, especially if your work doesn't sell.

Not my experience at all. Not remotely. (And my agent reps some very big names, lest you think it's just that my agent isn't very busy or doesn't have any "cash cows" on his list).

I have never felt like "just another number" to any agent, in fact.
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Old 11-26-2012, 04:51 PM   #20
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Not my experience at all. Not remotely. (And my agent reps some very big names, lest you think it's just that my agent isn't very busy or doesn't have any "cash cows" on his list).

I have never felt like "just another number" to any agent, in fact.
Same here. My agent reps some very big names in SF/F, but she always has time for me.
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Old 11-26-2012, 04:53 PM   #21
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Old Hack, I appear to have offended you, for which I apologise. But I do stand by my comments: if you accept email submissions, it's only polite to set up a system whereby they are acknowledged, given that email isn't 100% reliable and things do go astray.

I totally understand that agents don't want to, and don't have time to, enter into dialogue about submissions they've rejected - that's a no-brainer. But by not acknowledging receipt of submissions, they're just setting themselves up for a whole load more unsolicited emails from people like the OP, quite reasonably wishing to know whether a submission (or in this case, a MS that the agent has requested) has been received.

Setting up an auto-reply that says a submission has been received, the agent endeavours to respond within X weeks, and any longer without a response means no, and please don't nudge if you don't hear back, would actually reduce the amount of unwanted emails they receive, with zero effort on their part.

I've had a few recent experiences where I've submitted stuff to publications, received no reply, and when I've nudged a week or so later they've been all over the idea - the original email was genuinely not received. If you don't get an acknowledgement, it makes sense to follow up.
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Old 11-26-2012, 04:56 PM   #22
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Bearilou, you have no idea how bad it gets out there.

I know editors and agents who maintain lists of people who have threatened them with violence for rejecting their work. That one writer would make such threats is bad enough, but that agents and editors have lists of such people? It's scary. This is, of course, in addition to the people who turn up at the agency and demand meetings with agents in order to discuss the deals they want for the books which they haven't started writing yet; who send in confidentiality agreements and demand that agents sign them before they'll submit their work; who send in work in languages the agent doesn't read or work in but who expect the agent to pay for a translation of that work in order to read the submission... I could go on.

Here's a pertinent blog post I wrote a few years back. And don't forget Slushkiller. There's a link in the Publishing FAQs room.
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:03 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Old Hack View Post
Bearilou, you have no idea how bad it gets out there.
I can only imagine. I know I'm only hearing about the stuff that gets talked about on blogs or in informal discussions and the occasional newspaper report, all of which is the tip of the iceberg.

The agent getting attacked while sitting her car is going to haunt me for many months to come.
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The first draft is a huge pile of clay that you've laboriously heaped on your table, patting it into a rough shape as you go along. From the second draft onward, you'll cut away chunks, add bits, pat and punch and pinch, until you finally have a gorgeous figure of, oh, Marcus Aurelius. Or a duck. But a damn fine duck.
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:07 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by SophieM2401 View Post
Old Hack, I appear to have offended you, for which I apologise. But I do stand by my comments
You've not offended me: you have, however, been rude about several of our members and called them names, which goes against AW's one rule of Respect Your Fellow Writer.

You are a hair's breadth away from a ban for that. I won't have name-calling in this room. Be careful.

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if you accept email submissions, it's only polite to set up a system whereby they are acknowledged, given that email isn't 100% reliable and things do go astray.
As I said in my earlier reply to you, most agents do this already. You're complaining about nothing.

Quote:
I totally understand that agents don't want to, and don't have time to, enter into dialogue about submissions they've rejected - that's a no-brainer. But by not acknowledging receipt of submissions, they're just setting themselves up for a whole load more unsolicited emails from people like the OP, quite reasonably wishing to know whether a submission (or in this case, a MS that the agent has requested) has been received.
Most agents do acknowledge receipt of submissions in the way you describe. You are still complaining about nothing.

Quote:
Setting up an auto-reply that says a submission has been received, the agent endeavours to respond within X weeks, and any longer without a response means no, and please don't nudge if you don't hear back, would actually reduce the amount of unwanted emails they receive, with zero effort on their part.
Yep, they still already do this.

Quote:
I've had a few recent experiences where I've submitted stuff to publications, received no reply, and when I've nudged a week or so later they've been all over the idea - the original email was genuinely not received. If you don't get an acknowledgement, it makes sense to follow up.
So you're talking about publications now, and not agents? Right. Most do this already. It's no big deal. Nudging a week or so after you've submitted your work probably isn't a good idea, though: in most situations, that's far too soon.

Now, shall we move on from discussing how literary agents really should start doing something that most of them are already doing perfectly competently, and get back on topic? Thank you.
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:14 PM   #25
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Old Hack, I've just been and reread the OP and as far as I can tell the topic is that the poster was asked to email a full, did so, and received no acknowledgement.

How exactly are my comments that not acknowledging email is rude, not on topic? My comments were about agents who don't acknowledge submissions, so not, as you rightly point out, the majority, but apparently the agent with whom the OP is dealing.
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