08-01-2010, 09:18 PM
I know we should expect interminable waits at just about every phase of the game, but here's what I don't know:

HOW COMMON IS IT FOR AGENTS TO COMPLETELY BLOW OFF RESPONDING TO A MANUSCRIPT THEY REQUESTED? Sure, sometimes you have to nudge, and sometimes things get lost in the spam funnel. But

It's now August 1st. I'm waiting on responses to four full MSs; three sent in February and one sent in March. (There are two others, but far more recent.)
And not teeny podunk places with no $ at P&E, either.
Steinberg, Global, & Gerus from February,
Russel & Volkening from March.

All of the agents in question have track records of responding substantially faster that that, at least on average, according to QueryTracker stats. Even the notoriously slow ones show quicker responses.

It's not like all of a sudden my protagonist turned out to be a neo-nazi or something. I'm sure that none of the themes are even remotely offensive to anyone.

So again, do a large percentage of agents routinely just blow off requested MSs they aren't interested in? Or is my case simply one of long odds - throwing boxcars four times in a row?

Anyone else have similar experiences?

08-01-2010, 09:43 PM
No. Most agents will respond to fulls and partials. If they requested it, they will reject or offer. There is no "no response means no" for fulls.

Sometimes, agents get wrapped up, or they forget. Status query once a month until you recieve a response. (After the initial three month period, which you have passed.)

Some agents forget, get caught up, or have too much going on in their personal life. Just keep quietly reminding them. They should get back to you.

Miss Plum
08-01-2010, 09:45 PM
Two different agents had my full for a year. I nudged, and they promptly apologized with Rs. Then I've heard another story about someone who nudged after a year and got an offer of rep. I wonder if you can ever really know whether a publisher or agent has blown you off?

Still, it might make a difference whether the fast responses you see on QueryTracker are Rs or offers of rep. The above stories notwithstanding, agents might be faster to reject than they are to pursue. That's pure speculation on my part, but it's something that might explain the stats on QT vs. your experience.

08-01-2010, 10:19 PM
Thanks, Poppy & Plum.

I suppose it's nudge time all around.

BTW: Love your avatar, Poppy!!

08-01-2010, 10:31 PM
I have a full and a partial where the agents never responded and it's been over a year. Other than that, I've gotten responses on all, except the ones I currently have out. I have one full that's been out since December and it's still under consideration.

I also had a full that got lost in spam and when I nudged at 4 months, agent asked me to resend.

cate townsend
08-02-2010, 09:56 PM
When I was querying, I had three fulls and one partial requested that never got a response. One agent had left the biz, two had "forgotten" to reply with their response, and one agent never responded to my emails even after I sent notification that I had an offer from someone else. My advice? Always confirm receipt of material, and follow up every three months.

Drachen Jager
08-03-2010, 06:19 AM
Sadly it's too common. Agents know who holds the cards and all too often it makes them arrogant and/or lazy when it comes to rejecting material. Most of them are good, some are really conscientious but there are a few bad ones out there.

08-03-2010, 06:58 AM
Two nudges on a January full got me nothing but silence. It's now been 7 months.

It happens. Who knows why? Time management problems? Indifference? Spam filters? *shrug* Thing is, it's no longer just the bad agents. I wouldn't have queried this particular agent if I hadn't done my research and declared her worthy of me. : ) (Confession: she made the top 150 cut.)

09-21-2011, 05:48 PM
This is a depressing thread. I wonder if any agents have blogged about this issue. What are their thoughts on the process? What are the challenges they face in their efforts to connect with the books and authors that resonate with them?

09-21-2011, 09:25 PM
Based on my statistics, I would say it's relatively common. For 19 fulls requested, I have 4 that are still open more than a year on, despite multiple nudges. (And 2 have been open more than two years.) I could be wrong, but I assume these agents never intend to respond.

09-22-2011, 04:28 AM
I was wondering this, but two days ago I got a rejection to my full. It had been 4 months, which I guess doesn't sound like too long but was longer than any of the times for that particular agent on querytracker. I was assuming no news was good news, but I guess I assumed wrong.

09-23-2011, 08:17 AM
I've got a couple of these going--I had a partial requested in July by an agent who hasn't followed up and a full requested in January (!) by an agent I would've loved to represent me, but I never heard from her again either. (I thought that one was especially odd, because she requested a partial, and then requested a full after that, so two requests and still nothing?) Unfortunately, I'm terrible in these situations and terrified of pissing someone off so I never followed up. My advice should probably be not to do as I do ;)

09-23-2011, 10:18 PM
I had three fulls out for six-eight months when I accepted an offer from an agent who read the MS overnight. Then I got instant CGs from the nonresponders. :D

It's a wild old ride, for sure. But as to the original question? Yes, I think there are agents who will no-respond even to fulls. After a couple of nudges (I'd send them at six and twelve months), let them float in limbo -- if you eventually do get a response, count it as a nice surprise.

Lady MacBeth
09-24-2011, 06:02 AM
Yes, I think there are agents who will no-respond even to fulls. After a couple of nudges (I'd send them at six and twelve months), let them float in limbo -- if you eventually do get a response, count it as a nice surprise.

I've had a few non-responses on fulls. It seems to be happening more often.

09-24-2011, 06:59 AM
Phaeal, amazing. Don't those 6-8 monthers ever realize what they might be losing out on?

Oh, and what is "CG?"

09-24-2011, 07:32 AM
CG = ConGratulations

I think a few agents are responsible for most of the nonresponses on fulls, a wider range but still a minority on partial nonresponses.

I don't think they intend to give no response, but some agents simply request more than they can read, and often don't get to read a book unless there is a competing offer. Then, when they look at very old subs on the TBR pile, they decide it's better not to bother reading, since any good stuff will be taken already anyway. (I, as an unagented writer, do not believe that, but I understand how it happens.)

09-24-2011, 01:59 PM
I've had no response from my one and only full out there (as I'm not actually querying at the moment, this was requested after the agency received a sample of my book as part of a competition), and it was sent in June this year, so this thread does make me feel a bit better, as that's not really so long in comparison to some stories here. I do think it is a tacit rejection in my case as I've since found that the MS sucked big time, but my plan was, once I finish the rewrite I'm doing based on like the judges' comments and such, I'll nudge but maybe with a 'you requested this MS on such and such a day, however based on the competition feedback I have made some changes, would you consider looking at the revised version etc' and just see what they say. At that point I'd hope I'd be querying proper as well.

Miss Plum
09-26-2011, 09:54 AM
My goodness, this thread was dormant for a year and then came back. Something "meta" going on here.

But srsly, since the last time I posted here I heard a heartwarming story that is somewhat related. My friend was phoned up by a top agent she had queried; he wanted to rep her. She was delighted and said Yes. He said I'll pop the contract in the mail immediately.

Two months passed.

She didn't know what to do. Do all top agents do this? Am I too small to ask for a little consideration? Has he changed his mind?

She was about to resume querying other agents, so she contacted the previous one to make sure he had really lost interest. No. The contract was sitting right on top of his desk, in a stamped, addressed envelope, just sitting there, not getting mailed, for eight weeks. An embarrassed chuckle and "Huh, I wondered why you hadn't returned it yet!"

I knew that would warm your hearts.

Anne Lyle
09-26-2011, 10:31 AM
There's also the possibility that agents' workload is increasing to levels higher than they can cope with. Between falling advances and publishers getting ever more cautious about acquisitions, the agent has to work a lot harder now to get the same income they had a few years ago.

09-26-2011, 12:34 PM
"No response means no" has become a very common policy for queries, but you should NEVER assume that's the case for requested materials. If you haven't heard from an agent after several months, you should e-mail them.

Some people think you should wait at least four months to "poke." I think you should do it at the two month mark, because you are better off risking their annoyance than letting them know you've been querying for four months.