View Full Version : Response Times From Agents

05-22-2012, 06:01 AM
In all the times I've queried (five novels) I noticed every time that the ones with the most interest will respond quicker. Makes sense right? There are a few that respond with a request for a partial or full weeks later. For me, the longest positive response was a month. But all and all the most are within days or a week at best.

What has your response times for fulls and partials been like? (from query to request) I'm just curious because I have quite a few floating out there from 3 weeks till now and already I'm writing off those as non-responders. Granted, they still might respond postively, but I highly doubt it-- at least from my experience, the longer it goes the worse it gets.

Becca C.
05-22-2012, 06:18 AM
Well... I've certainly had requests within a couple days of sending the query, but a couple weeks ago I had a partial request off a query I sent in December. I had written it off, so it was a surprise. It's just impossible to tell. A lot of the time the wait isn't because they don't like your query, it's just that their inboxes are so full they just don't get to yours for a while.

Hopeful writer
05-22-2012, 06:41 AM
I had a query I sent on 8/2/2011 and she did not respond until late January of 2012.

Three days later, she offered me a contract and is now my agent.

05-22-2012, 07:38 AM
I think my longest request was around six months.

Ginger Writer
05-22-2012, 08:33 AM
This is an interesting question. I think that the pattern I noticed is that it depends on the size of the agency and how full they are. When querying a top 10 agency, as an example, that is highly selective because of how full they are, I tend to get rejections really quickly or no response at all as a rejection. However, smaller agencies who pride themselves on reading every submission, being personal, etc., will tend to get back rather quickly with requests. Of course, these are all generalities, and generalities are awful, but it's just the pattern that I've noticed (most of the time).

05-22-2012, 09:17 AM
Mine were a little all over the map, but most of my requests for pages came within one week. However, there were several agents that took 3-4 weeks to request pages. One of those agents ended up offering rep. Most of my rejections actually came fairly quickly, as well. I had a handful of rejections come within 48 hours. I think my querying experience was a little atypical, though. I received my first offer within six weeks, and I saw a definite upswing in the speed of requests once that happened. The longest time between query and request I experienced was one month.

I honestly think it depends on the agent, the quantity of their slushpile, and their mode of operation. Some set promising queries aside to look at later, others respond as soon as they get to them. Also depends on the time of year. I queried in late summer to mid fall, which is when things seem to pick back up again after the summer slump.

05-22-2012, 02:49 PM
Becca, yeah that is surprising. And good to hear that it can still happen months later.

Hopeful Writer, great news! Good luck to you.

Yeah, Kaitie, that is a long time. I've never had that before myself, but like I said to Becca, I am glad it does still happen.

Ginger Writer, good point. Like Becca said too, they just might have a bigger slushpile then others. But it all depends. I've had top agencies request within a day's time.

May, that's the same with me too as far as rejections go. Most of them come quick. Although I've had those stragglers that come in months and months later. Hope you're doing well with your writing too.

Thanks for responding everyone!

05-22-2012, 04:02 PM
My now-agent requested my full manuscript after exactly a month!

Have you joined Querytracker? I LOVED it during querying.

05-22-2012, 08:29 PM
I loved Query Tracker, too. I could see when responses usually came in, and it gave me an idea of how I was doing. I think I checked that out every day. :)

Becca C.
05-22-2012, 11:06 PM
Love Query Tracker. It's also useful for knowing what genres agents are requesting more of, since people usually post their genres along with their stats.

05-25-2012, 05:53 PM
Just a quick question for anyone who is willing to answer. I have a couple of partials (the first 50 pages) that have both been out for a month now. Do you think they still might be interested?

I ask because I had some fulls out (on the same ms) and they've gotten back to me within a week's time. Both with a "no."

These other couple of agencies are bigger, does that matter with the response time? I suppose it does, but I'm thinking the longer it goes the worse it gets.

Mr Flibble
05-25-2012, 06:24 PM
That is going to depend on so many things, I don;t think you can say at all, Undercover


This agent saves all fulls/partials to the end of the month and then reads them
That agent usually tries to read them the week they come in
Maybe this agent has had a relatively quiet month, so had time to read the MS
Maybe this month was crisis on crisis
Maybe they are on holiday, so won't read it
Maybe they are on holiday so they have time to read it!
Maybe they liked it and have passed it onto to another reader.
Maybe they haven't read it yet

You can't second guess from how long an agent has had the full/partial - it varies between agents, and even with the same agent at different times.

05-25-2012, 06:28 PM
I think agents are going to be all over the map on this. I have a full out that came just shy of a month of my query, and a partial that was requested a hair over two weeks after query.

And reading response times, I suspect that some read their queries in batches and may go backwards and forwards in their inboxes, based on some of the things I've seen on QT.

05-25-2012, 06:35 PM
IRU summed it up very well :).

I can tell you that in my experience, a longer wait time on a partial isn't necessarily a bad thing. When I was querying an early version of the novel I'm querying now (heavily revised), one agent held on to the partial for a few weeks because she was considering requesting the full. In the end, she didn't, but she requested that I query her with my next manuscript...

I also had another agent request a partial to full upgrade after a couple of months. So I guess the best answer is, "it depends." :D.

05-25-2012, 06:58 PM
Just another writer here way-over-analyzing.

Thanks for the replies. There sure are lots of maybes. Who knows, maybe I still have a shot.

I'm just bummed out cause I haven't gotten a lot of requests in the first place and my responses seem to be dwindling. Getting in the really worried zone.

Your replies help, thanks.

05-25-2012, 09:12 PM
Undercover, I think you should just have patience and trust the partials will get read. A month is no time at all.

I once got a full request 9 months after the initial query, and it came from a different agent at the agency. And just two days ago I got a full request off a query + partial submission I sent March 1. I also got a partial request within minutes of sending another query on March 1. Still haven't heard on that partial. I'll nudge on it at 3 months. On the fulls, I'll nudge at 6 months. Those seem to be the recommended standards I've read. (Unless someone here wants to correct me on that.)

On Query Tracker, one agent I queried was averaging 69 days on query responses. And that's about how long it took her to reject mine.

It's not that reading 50 pages takes a crazy amount of time. It's fitting that into the queue amid all the other, far more important client work that creates the timing challenge for agents.

05-25-2012, 09:33 PM
I agree that it's too soon to write off any of your queries or submissions, Undercover. The longest I had to wait for a request for material was about 5 weeks. (Most were a week or two.) And three of my material submissions got back to me within a month, but others I've been waiting on for a month or more.

I like visiting Query Tracker and seeing how quickly agents respond to other people, but it's not a perfect indicator. Sometimes people who send queries after mine get rejected before me and I have to wonder if my query wasn't received or perhaps I'm in the "maybe" pile or perhaps the agent is just really busy and is working backwards in his/her queue. Who knows!