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popmuze
10-06-2010, 02:35 AM
Maybe I'm spoiled, but the last time I sent out a bunch of queries, most of the time I got responses within a couple of days.
Now I've sent out 20. Within a day I got one request for a full, one request for a partial and one not interested. But it's been anywhere between a week and two weeks and I've heard nothing at all on the other 17. Do I write them off already?
Also, I hate this new thing where they want you to enclose 10 pages in the body of the email. I'd rather just send the query.

AlishaS
10-06-2010, 02:42 AM
Yes you have been a little spoiled, it's not really unheard of for agents to take weeks, even months to reply, or hell some have a no-news means rejection policy. I would take a look on the agent's website or check out their respective thread in Bewares and Backgrounds to see what the wait time is.
I'm still getting rejections and interest from agents I quered back in January lol

kaitlin008
10-06-2010, 03:23 AM
A lot of agents will give a general idea of response times and whether they're a no response=no type of agent on their websites or blogs, like Alisha said. And querytracker can give you a general idea too, although don't read too much into it since the people who report on querytracker are only a small subset of the people actually querying, so it can sometimes be inaccurate.

But I definitely wouldn't write anyone off after two weeks.

I don't know how long it's been since you queried, but I don't think agents requesting pages at the end of your email is too new! I actually liked this when I was querying, because it's kind of like a second chance if they thought your query was just okay.

Erin
10-06-2010, 03:56 AM
I've gotten requests and rejections on up to 6 month old queries. But I mark queries off as no-response on my spreadsheet after 3 months, or 4 months if I attach sample chapters.

Jamesaritchie
10-06-2010, 06:44 AM
Maybe I'm spoiled, but the last time I sent out a bunch of queries, most of the time I got responses within a couple of days.
Now I've sent out 20. Within a day I got one request for a full, one request for a partial and one not interested. But it's been anywhere between a week and two weeks and I've heard nothing at all on the other 17. Do I write them off already?
Also, I hate this new thing where they want you to enclose 10 pages in the body of the email. I'd rather just send the query.


You're spoiled. After six months, you can write them off.

And why on earth would you not like enclosing pages? This is a HUGE benefit to you. It saves you an entire step in the process. Don't you want to know whether your query is bad, or whether it's your opening that makes agents and editors say no?

If an agent asks for more, you're going to have to spend in a partial or a full, anyway, so why on earth wouldn't you want to find out right up front whether the agent likes your writing?

If you can add the first five to ten pages, but don't, you might as well be holding up a big sign that says "MY WRITING ISN'T GOOD ENOUGH JUDGE ME BY MY QUERY INSTEAD."

popmuze
10-06-2010, 08:27 AM
So after reading the first ten pages, what is the agent going to ask for, the next 40?

Since I know my query is good, I'd rather have the agent read the full manuscript. The last time I queried, 75% of the agents who requested pages, wanted to see the full.

Actually, since I'm mainly going through agents who exclusively use email, I don't see why they don't all request the full, since they're going to stop reading whenever they feel like it anyway.

heyjude
10-06-2010, 04:18 PM
So after reading the first ten pages, what is the agent going to ask for, the next 40?

Maybe. Or maybe the full.


Actually, since I'm mainly going through agents who exclusively use email, I don't see why they don't all request the full, since they're going to stop reading whenever they feel like it anyway.


I've seen this addressed on any number of agent blogs. At least part of this is psychological. If they request the full, then reject it, the writer often feels that the agent owes them an explanation. This explanation is time-consuming and often comes down to "It just didn't grab me."

ETA: I agree with James. Send the first ten pages. If they're on the fence about the Q, they may look at the pages for their decision. No pages could easily translate to a no thanks. I believe Janet Reid has addressed this one.

kaitlin008
10-06-2010, 05:36 PM
So after reading the first ten pages, what is the agent going to ask for, the next 40?

Since I know my query is good, I'd rather have the agent read the full manuscript. The last time I queried, 75% of the agents who requested pages, wanted to see the full.

Actually, since I'm mainly going through agents who exclusively use email, I don't see why they don't all request the full, since they're going to stop reading whenever they feel like it anyway.

I'm not sure I understand the issue you have with this. What if your query is amazing, but your writing doesn't hold up at all? Isn't it easier for an agent to read the pages pasted into an email and decide it isn't for them without all the additional time spent on a back & forth asking for a partial or full? Think about how many queries agents get every week, and how many manuscripts they have to read for both clients and potential clients, plus all the other things that go along with their job.

And on the positive side, an agent could love your sample pages so much that they are hungry to read your full when you send it.

Really, there is NO disadvantage to sending pages unless your pages are poorly written.

popmuze
10-06-2010, 06:53 PM
I see this as an advantage only for those whose queries aren't any good. If you've got a good query, I think it makes it more difficult to get to the next step. Most agents request pages from only a small percentage of queries. If they also have to like your first ten pages, the percentages probably slip even lower. And since most of them don't respond if they're not interested, then you never know if it was the query or the writing that didn't work for them.
I'd just rather know whether they rejected the pages or the query.

Corinne Duyvis
10-06-2010, 07:11 PM
If you've got a good query, I think it makes it more difficult to get to the next step. Most agents request pages from only a small percentage of queries. If they also have to like your first ten pages, the percentages probably slip even lower.

I see your point about wanting to know if it's the query or the pages that need help, but honestly, they won't even give personalised rejections on partials most of the time. You rarely know exactly why someone rejects something. Even if they reject it based on the pages, you don't know if it's because the writing isn't good, because they don't click with your style, because they don't click with your character, because they represent a similar book... It probably wouldn't make much difference in the end.

The thing is, the point of querying isn't to get to the 'next step'. It's to get representation. The end goal is for them to like your book. If someone isn't right for my book, I'd rather they reject me based on query + pages than a partial. The sooner I know, the less time and effort wasted for the both of us.

Plus, like others have said, if your pages are good, they could lure the agent into requesting more when they might not have otherwise.

Jamesaritchie
10-06-2010, 08:41 PM
So after reading the first ten pages, what is the agent going to ask for, the next 40?

Since I know my query is good, I'd rather have the agent read the full manuscript. The last time I queried, 75% of the agents who requested pages, wanted to see the full.

Actually, since I'm mainly going through agents who exclusively use email, I don't see why they don't all request the full, since they're going to stop reading whenever they feel like it anyway.

No, the agent is then going to ask for a full.

Your query may be wonderful, but damned few are worth the paper or pixels it takes to send them, and a good first few pages can save a bad query. And if your query isn't getting a very high request rate from top agents, it isn't much good, either.

The other side of the coin is also a time saver. Just as a good first five or ten pages can save a bad query, they can also tell the truth about the novel behind a good query. Just as a good novel can have a bad query, a bad novel can have a good query. Both are frustrating, both are time wasters.

In fact, from the other side of the desk, the good query that leads to a bad novel is considerably more frustrating. Get a great query, then request the novel. only to find horrible writing, is both frustrating and a serious time waster, but it happens often. Reading the first few sample pages along with the query in the only way to prevent this.

I'm not sure why agents don't ask for the full in e-mail, other than the fact that I sure hate reading anything very long in e-mail, unless the writer formats it through Word so I can open it directly in Word. Most writers don't have a clue how to do this, or can't do it because they have some bargain rate word processor and e-mail system.

Either way, the first few pages or a full, the sooner you get your actual writing in front of an agent or editor, the better off you both are. It's the only way there is to know whether your query is the problem, or whether your actual writing is the problem.

Corinne Duyvis
10-06-2010, 08:57 PM
No, the agent is then going to ask for a full.
Not necessarily. I've had plenty of agents request partials when they've already read the first ten pages.


I'm not sure why agents don't ask for the full in e-mail, other than the fact that I sure hate reading anything very long in e-mail, unless the writer formats it through Word so I can open it directly in Word. Most writers don't have a clue how to do this, or can't do it because they have some bargain rate word processor and e-mail system.
The reason was explained above, I think - and actually, a writer should never format their materials in an e-mail. E-mails need to be plain text. Submissions should just be attached in Word format.

Susan Littlefield
10-06-2010, 11:31 PM
Now I've sent out 20. Within a day I got one request for a full, one request for a partial and one not interested. But it's been anywhere between a week and two weeks and I've heard nothing at all on the other 17. Do I write them off already?
.

Please tell me you are not serious, but perhaps just a little frustrated that things are not moving along at a rate you would like them to.

No, please don't write them off. Many of the agent websites ask for patience, as they are very busy and can't always answers right away. I would give them at least 4-6 weeks past thier deadline before writing them off. Even if they don't say anything at thier website, you still need to be patient. James, who is an editor and veteran writer, is spot on about waiting six months.

popmuze
10-07-2010, 12:26 AM
I don't know; on my previous round of submissions, about six months ago, I heard from most of the agents within a day or two. The others I never heard from. Unless they're still considering my query.

Stacia Kane
10-07-2010, 03:24 AM
I don't know; on my previous round of submissions, about six months ago, I heard from most of the agents within a day or two. The others I never heard from. Unless they're still considering my query.


That was actually my experience as well. :)

But that doesn't mean it's the norm, and I think I actually only sent maybe fifteen queries total, so that's certainly not indicative of an industry-wide trend.

Miss Plum
10-07-2010, 03:26 AM
popmuze, I recently did a round of querying in which I got requests after a month. The real waiting happened after I sent them my materials.

Susan Littlefield
10-07-2010, 04:43 AM
I don't know; on my previous round of submissions, about six months ago, I heard from most of the agents within a day or two. The others I never heard from. Unless they're still considering my query.

Please, hang in there. Listen to the veterans who have been through similar experiences. Good luck with the query process. I am heading that way within the next week or so, and I'm very scared.

Jamesaritchie
10-08-2010, 02:56 AM
Not necessarily. I've had plenty of agents request partials when they've already read the first ten pages.


The reason was explained above, I think - and actually, a writer should never format their materials in an e-mail. E-mails need to be plain text. Submissions should just be attached in Word format.

No, e-mails do not need to be plain text. I don't know why so many think this. If an agent or editors asks for plain text, that's fine, but I have a fair number of editors, and know some agents, who want formatted e-mails. Many agents and editors fear attachments, and rightfully so. Formatted e-mails does away with the need for attachments, and has been easy to do for a lot of years, if the writer uses MS Office, as do most agents and editors.

I also have to submit a lot of short stories and articles as .rtf formatted e-mails, but, again, this is easy, if you use MS Office, namely Word and Outlook.

popmuze
10-08-2010, 05:52 AM
Formatted e-mails does away with the need for attachments, and has been easy to do for a lot of years, if the writer uses MS Office, as do most agents and editors.

I would ask this in the tech help section, but can you briefly describe the process of formatting emails through Word?