View Full Version : How Long to Wait?

05-19-2008, 08:00 PM
Hello, fellow scribes. Need your insights.

I queried an agent, who requested my non-fiction book proposal. She got back to me within a week, very supportive of the work, with some detailed suggestions. I agreed with her adds, and revised over the next week. I sent it back to her over two weeks ago now, and have heard nothing. How long should I wait before I reach out to her?


05-19-2008, 11:25 PM
First, congratulations! Her initial fast response with specific suggestions is very encouraging...so it's natural to assume that she'd be equally speedy this time.

But two weeks is nothing in agent time. I know it's hard to reconcile that with the way almost every other business operates. It's like Through the Looking Glass, and I don't know that anyone ever gets really used to it...except agents.

Unless you promised her an exclusive, I wouldn't be at all concerned about the time. Let her mull it over in peace. I'd wait til after the Memorial Day holiday, at least, and then if you haven't heard anything by June 7 or so, a brief, friendly, no-pressure note to the effect of: "Hope you had a nice holiday and that you have had a chance to look over my revisions in response to your great suggestionslast month. I'm looking forward to hearing if it's what you had in mind. Thanks again for your input." Gentle reminders are not out of order in a case where the agent has expressed such clear interest and invited the revision.

05-19-2008, 11:57 PM

Thank you so much for the sage advice -- I feel MUCH better now.


05-20-2008, 11:57 PM
Query Question:

How many publishers do you query at once?

How long do you wait until you move on to the next set?


05-21-2008, 03:17 AM

Many people have different opinions about this one. Here's mine.

If you want to play by the book, you wouldn't query publishers who state in their guidelines that they expect exclusive submissions only. That aside, there is no absolute number, or right or wrong, when deciding how many queries to send out at any point in time. Me, I query as many publishers as I believe are appropriate for my work. I start by putting together a list of appropriate publishers and then put them in numerical order (#1 being the one I'd most like to be published by). Although I put no minimum or maximum on how many I'll query at one time, I do like to spread them out a bit - for example, if there are 24 publishers I usually query 8 the first week, and 4 to 8 each week that follows.

Another decision you have to make is whether or not to include in the last paragraph a sentence telling the publishers that this is a simultaneous submission. I definitely think you should, but others feel differently.

If you want to query one publisher and wait for a reply before submitting elsewhere, you should figure at least eight weeks. I don't recommend it -- others may disagree -- and in the end only you can and should weigh all the factors. As I'm sure you know, the publishing wheels grind ever so slowly.

Good luck.

05-21-2008, 10:25 PM
Thanks Scope! I agree, following the directions is step one.

Oddly enough I thought about organizing the queries and sending them the exact way you proposed. Great minds...;)

When I first jumped in to this crazy game I thought most publishers would want query letters, but most want the whole proposal which of course takes longer. HA!