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View Full Version : Definitive Guidelines for Response to No Response



Adam Hammonds
10-29-2008, 06:57 AM
I'd like to know each and every AWer's opinion on this, please. No ducking.

Situation: you've sent an equery to an agent who hasn't responded.

Do you:

a) Send a followup email? (If so, after how long?)

b) Send a hard copy of query? (assuming they accept snail; and again, after how long?)

c) Join agent's AA group and introduce yourself at the coffee table.

Thanks.

ishtar'sgate
10-29-2008, 08:10 AM
I leave it alone and keep querying elsewhere. If they've requested a partial or full I'll contact them if I don't hear anything after a few months but I expect some queries to be answered and some to be ignored.

Adam Hammonds
10-29-2008, 08:33 AM
but I expect some queries to be answered and some to be ignored.

Even if said agent is one of those that claim to answer every query?

Beware_of_Italics
10-29-2008, 08:51 AM
With just a query.... I move on to someone else.

Today - for the first time ever - I did a follow up email, but that was on a request for the first 50 pages from a looong time ago.

Overall, I think that no response = rejection. If they can't find the time to respond with a simple "No thanks" (or use the provided SASE :rant:), then clearly I'm better off.

I do like it, however, when an agency states on their website that they will only respond if interested. At least that's concrete proof that no reply = rejection. Now those guys I respect a little more. ;)

ChaosTitan
10-29-2008, 04:01 PM
If they do say they reply to every query, then check their site for average response time. Once that passes, send a follow-up query. Some agents admit that things get trapped in the Spam filter.

But for agencies who say silence is a rejection, don't follow-up.

MatchmakerJane
10-29-2008, 04:10 PM
What Chaos said.

Agents tend to be pretty good about stating their follow up time. I have a spreadsheet with all the agents I want to query or have queried. Some agents say no response= no thanks. Others say they get back to everyone and list general response times which seem to range from 1 second to 1 month.

I don't know if I would follow up. Some agents even specifically state on their site that if you don't hear back within their response time to follow up. The ones who don't well, the presumption is they aren't interested.

vixey
10-29-2008, 04:11 PM
My oldest queries with no response date back to the first week of June. After 90 days I figure they've gotten the big R. Less than that I'm still hopeful.

And, no. I wouldn't follow up to a query at all. (Since you wanted my opinion :D)

Deccydiva
10-29-2008, 04:20 PM
I have only sent one query by email, in accordance with the website instructions. The person who runs the writers's group I belong to said I should wait three months, which is now up. :Shrug:
Sadly, I sent the query before I found this site and looking at the email, I cringe. I didn't even give a word count. My quandary is this; do I re-send with a good query hoping they won't notice it's the same one re-written, do I sit tight for a while longer, or assume that they have rejected it and any attempt to re-apply however well done, will go the same way? I have found relatively few Agents in Ireland so I need to maximise my chances with each one.
To answer the question - at the moment I'm assuming it's a rejection so I won't follow up - but I am still thinking about re-sending the query... substantially re-written!:D

NeuroFizz
10-29-2008, 04:41 PM
Let it go. If you keep track of your queries on a spreadsheet, highlight it in a color that is devoted to "no responses." Then, when you query your next project, either reconsider querying that agent, or use the color to temper your expectations. If an agent likes your query, he/she will likely respond right away.

donroc
10-29-2008, 04:57 PM
I have had a response as late as more than a year.

If a query, put the agency at the bottom of your list and get back to them after you have tried the others. By then their interns/subagents may have moved on or the agency may have merged with another.

Adam Hammonds
10-29-2008, 05:17 PM
Neuro -

I have no problem letting an uninterested agent go. My only worry is what I've read in many places that sometimes an equery doesn't reach it's intended destination: through accidental deletion, spam filter, whatever. Some guy on querytracker said he followed up on his no-responses and had 2 out of 10 write back saying they never received the original equery.


Chaos -

And for those agents who do not say No Response = Pass and they give no average time frame (there are a few for me), what's reasonable? Six weeks?

NeuroFizz
10-29-2008, 05:38 PM
I have no problem letting an uninterested agent go. My only worry is what I've read in many places that sometimes an equery doesn't reach it's intended destination: through accidental deletion, spam filter, whatever. Some guy on querytracker said he followed up on his no-responses and had 2 out of 10 write back saying they never received the original equery.

I understand this. But, I have to let my face go red and admit that I have used the "didn't receive it" excuse on a few occasions in my other-job dealings. I think a hybrid of my response and Don's (donroc) is a path worth considering. Mark them as "no response," let some time go by, and re-query. There is a possibility that a "did you get my query" e-mail would put the agent on the defensive, or require her/him to search back through the massive back-logs (which she/he may not have time for). In those scenarios, I'd envison the easy response of the agent would be to just shoot back a "sorry, but not for us" rejection rather than go to the trouble of doing the honest research into the query logs.

I can't imagine being an agent and having to sift through a couple of hundred queries a week, 52 weeks out of the year, in addition to servicing all of the authors who are already under contract.

caseyquinn
10-29-2008, 05:39 PM
I would let it go as well. They recieved your email and will respond if they want to, these things tend to not really get lost in the shuffle. A follow up usually does more harm then good.

Phaeal
10-29-2008, 06:10 PM
I find the no response = rejection strategy rude, given the ease of knocking back an email reply as simple as "No." Limbo is not a pleasant place. However, I'm not Gail Wynand, and hence I don't run things around here. ;)

If I get no response from a stated nonresponder, I let it go.

If I get no response from a stated responder, or from a snail mail query with SASE, or from a requested partial or full sub, I inquire one month after the stated response time or after three months if no response time was noted.

I would never join the agent's AA group.

Specific enough? :)

Edmontonian
10-29-2008, 06:54 PM
My course of action depends on many factors: If I haven't heard from any of my queries in quite some time and I have send more than just a query letter and/or synopsis, I would follow up with a letter or e-mail, especially if this is one of my preferred agents. Otherwise, it's their loss and your gain, imagining being represented by an agent that doesn't answer your questions on concerns.

Thanks,

ED

Alpha Echo
10-29-2008, 07:05 PM
I don't do anything. Many agents don't respond to equeries if they aren't interested. I hate it, and I don't understand why since it would be so simple to just send a form email rejection, but...still.

Some agents will tell you otherwise on their websites. I know that Nathan Bransford said he always responds quickly, so if he does not respond, send an email stating that you'd previously queried him on such-and-such date and not heard a response...and adding the query again. I did that, and he got back to me (with a sad, sad, no) in seconds.

Adam Hammonds
10-29-2008, 07:35 PM
Neuro -

Good point. I think I like that plan. And yes, I don't envy them their inbox.

Phael -

You'd never join an agent's AA group? Well. You obviously don't subscribe to that philosophy so popular in contemporary politics of never taking any option off the table. Are you saying you wouldn't show up at their wedding, either? Surely not.

I also find the no response thing a bit ridiculous. I believe a single macro button could be programmed to take care of the entire thing of sending a form rejection. I mean, really, a single depression of a button on the keyboard. Is that too much trouble?

On a side note, I just checked my stats and only one of nine requests for partials took longer than 2 days after my initial query, so, there you go. There seems to be truth in the they're-quick-if-they're-interested theory.

Damn.

maestrowork
10-29-2008, 07:50 PM
a) Send a followup email? (If so, after how long?)

No. Move on. If you really want to send an inquiry: "did you receive my query?" Go ahead, but never badger the agent about it. They're busy. And chances are, you're going to get a rejection anyway. Better just mark it as "no response" and move on.



b) Send a hard copy of query? (assuming they accept snail; and again, after how long?)

Do they accept e-query as well as snail? Make sure you read the guidelines. If it says "no multiple queries" then probably not a good idea to query again. If not, you have nothing to lose (maybe just another rejection).

c) Join agent's AA group and introduce yourself at the coffee table.

Move on. There must be someone else on your list you can turn your attention to...