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AlwaysJuly
05-04-2012, 08:46 PM
I queried an agent who asked for an exclusive, which I gave her. I put a time limit of two weeks on the exclusive when I emailed her the full, just in case. At the end of the exclusive period she said she hadn't had the chance to read it, and asked if the MS were still available. About a month later she said she'd been very busy at work, but that she would get back to me soon. That was three months ago (so four months now total since I sent her the full).

At this point, should I assume she isn't interested? I understand that she's busy, a delay doesn't bother me -- I'm just off on my next project and continuing to query anyway -- but I'm not sure how to read the radio silence. I've nudged before (and she responded), so I'm not really eager to nudge again (maybe I'm just being a wuss, though :)).

heyjude
05-04-2012, 08:59 PM
Meh. Others will disagree with me, probably, but I'd write it off. You could be pleasantly surprised in another month or so when you hear from her, though.

maybegenius
05-04-2012, 09:11 PM
It's not necessarily a write-off... sometimes agents really do get busy (especially during conference/fair season), and she might really have every intention of reading it. That said, the exclusive period is definitely expired. I would email her to give her a heads up that the exclusive you agreed on is overdue and you'll be querying the MS to other agents. Worst that can happen is she'll pass. I think you've given her a more than fair amount of time, and any respectable agent won't expect you to sit on a MS for several months if they agreed on a two-week exclusive.

Jamesaritchie
05-04-2012, 09:38 PM
I might write it off, but putting a two week time limit on an exclusive is begging for a rejection. Writers seem to forget that they aren't the only ones querying an agent.

Three months is a much more reasonable time period. A good agent may have no more than four or five hours per week, if that, to deal with unpublished writers, and may have dozens and dozens waiting.

Speed just isn't how this business works. Patience really is a tremendous virtue. Slow acceptances are infinitely better than fast rejections.

leahzero
05-04-2012, 10:01 PM
I queried an agent who asked for an exclusive, which I gave her. I put a time limit of two weeks on the exclusive when I emailed her the full, just in case. At the end of the exclusive period she said she hadn't had the chance to read it, and asked if the MS were still available. About a month later she said she'd been very busy at work, but that she would get back to me soon. That was three months ago (so four months now total since I sent her the full).

It seems rather promising that the agent expressed continued interest despite passing your exclusive deadline, and then took initiative (?) to contact you a month later for a status update. It's unlikely for an agent to do so unless they're genuinely interested.

Three months is just the right time to nudge, IMO. I say go for it. Don't impose deadlines, don't mention exclusives, just give her a chance to respond to the full. If it still doesn't go anywhere, I'd silently move on.

waylander
05-04-2012, 10:29 PM
Keep querying.
Do not write if off. Send very polite requests for a status update every month or so

JSSchley
05-04-2012, 11:31 PM
Agreed with all the rest. Send the agent an email politely pointing out that it's far beyond a reasonable exclusive time limit, and that you'll be querying the ms.

Even without the exclusive, she may still decide she'd like to rep it. I've heard several stories of people getting offers of rep after the agent had the ms. a year or more. Don't write it off, but don't give this agent an unrestricted exclusive, either.

AlwaysJuly
05-05-2012, 12:25 AM
Thanks, all! Appreciate the opinions.


I might write it off, but putting a two week time limit on an exclusive is begging for a rejection. Writers seem to forget that they aren't the only ones querying an agent.

Three months is a much more reasonable time period. A good agent may have no more than four or five hours per week, if that, to deal with unpublished writers, and may have dozens and dozens waiting.

Speed just isn't how this business works. Patience really is a tremendous virtue. Slow acceptances are infinitely better than fast rejections. I wasn't trying to be impatient (and obviously, I'm not particularly impatient :)); that was the advice I saw here on AW regarding exclusives.

I'd certainly be interested in knowing what agents expect in terms of exclusive length (that is also fair to the querying author, of course).

Smiley0501
05-06-2012, 08:20 AM
Send an e-mail that you'd like to keep querying but are still interested in having them take a lot. (Meaning, no exclusive since it is way past due.)

maybegenius
05-06-2012, 10:31 PM
If the agent agreed to two weeks, then the agreement is two weeks. If an agent wants a three-month exclusive, they will ask for it. I think you're fine.

Cameron
05-08-2012, 03:40 AM
Asking for an exclusive is not always to get an exclusive. Sometimes it's to find out how much interest there is in your MS. Some agents won't get around to reading your full until you tell them that someone else has made an offer. And they do they same thing to publishers. Once one publisher is interested, they let the others know to create a feeding frenzy. As for an agent whose exclusive has expired, don't worry about it. Keep querying because it can take many full reads to find an agent who clicks with your work.

Paul
05-08-2012, 03:47 AM
@OP not sure what ur asking.

if it's nudge, why not, at least you'll get more info, (that incl a silence)


if it's should i keep querying, or course, the two weeks you stated are up.

AlwaysJuly
05-09-2012, 04:22 AM
Thanks for the feedback, all!

Paul, I was asking if three months' silence can generally be considered to equate to no interest, and if it were time to give up any hope on this particular agent... I think I've gotten helpful perspectives from everyone, which I really appreciate.

Sage
05-09-2012, 04:36 AM
4 months is nothing for a full. She's used up her exclusive time, so keep querying, but don't assume anything's a rejection until you get a rejection.

Maxie16
05-09-2012, 08:10 PM
Just a follow-up to this conversation: A couple of you have suggested telling the first agent that AlwaysJuly will be querying new agents. I think the further querying makes complete sense, but it seems to me that she doesn't need to tell the first agent about those new queries. (I can imabgine some agents taking it as a sign of a difficult writer, the old "You took too long to get back to me" act, that might turn some of them off to something they haven't quite had time to deal with.)

It seems to me that granting an exclusive in the first place is tantamount to saying, "If I don't hear from you in X time, I'll resume sending this out." After that period, it makes sense to me to nudge the agent, but I don't see much to gain in saying that she'll be querying any further. If she gets an offer, that's another matter, but new queries seem to me an implicit part of the deal.

Am I missing something in all of that?

maybegenius
05-09-2012, 08:15 PM
It's basically just a professional courtesy. Yes, you could assume the agent would agree that once the exclusive period is over, you're free to send to other agents, but it's still generally polite when you've made a prior agreement to let them know what your plans are so they're not caught off guard.

Kind of like letting agents know when you've received an offer. You don't HAVE to do it, but it's considered good form to give other agents notification so they either know to move it to the top of their pile or that it's already spoken for so they don't waste their time.

(And yes, I realize people often make the argument of "what if the agent is the one being unprofessional/rude," and my response is still to err on the side of professional courtesy. It never hurts you.)

JSSchley
05-09-2012, 11:29 PM
Agreed with maybegenius. There's a big difference between, "Since you're taking so damn long, I'm taking my special snowflake self elsewhere" and "Our original agreement is past its time, and I wanted to give you the courtesy of notifying you that I will be resuming querying widely. I'm delighted you're interested in my manuscript and hope you will still consider it at your convenience."

Mharvey
05-14-2012, 10:39 PM
Agreed with maybegenius. There's a big difference between, "Since you're taking so damn long, I'm taking my special snowflake self elsewhere" and "Our original agreement is past its time, and I wanted to give you the courtesy of notifying you that I will be resuming querying widely. I'm delighted you're interested in my manuscript and hope you will still consider it at your convenience."

This is exactly how I'd do it.

robiiehood
06-04-2012, 05:11 AM
It's not necessarily a write-off... sometimes agents really do get busy (especially during conference/fair season), and she might really have every intention of reading it. That said, the exclusive period is definitely expired. I would email her to give her a heads up that the exclusive you agreed on is overdue and you'll be querying the MS to other agents. Worst that can happen is she'll pass. I think you've given her a more than fair amount of time, and any respectable agent won't expect you to sit on a MS for several months if they agreed on a two-week exclusive.

When is conference/fair season because I feel like query responses have been a little slow lately:/ not that I'm complaining. I understand that agents are busy.

blacbird
06-04-2012, 06:58 AM
I queried an agent who asked for an exclusive, which I gave her. I put a time limit of two weeks on the exclusive when I emailed her the full, just in case.

Two weeks is really unreasonable. Two months would be more realistic. How many books do you read in two weeks?

caw