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View Full Version : Agented, but waa-iting.... How long is too long?



Steam&Ink
08-21-2012, 01:18 PM
Hi all,

If you've already signed with an agent, I just wanted to know what your experience is of waiting times when you've sent them a new manuscript.

Do you think the agent is more relaxed about reading the ms of an author they've already signed up? Does it slither to the bottom of their teetering reading pile?

How long do you think is "about right" for the agent to read and get back to you on ms the second?

If you have an agent and have submitted a second ms, how long did it take for the agent to get back to you?

Thanks to all who take the time to read and reply:)

heyjude
08-21-2012, 01:37 PM
Approximately one day longer than forever. :)

I try to write something new and forget about it as much as possible, though I'll nudge after a few months.

lauralam
08-21-2012, 02:50 PM
My agent got back to me on a partial draft I needed help with within 2 weeks and gave me good suggestions. I don't plan to ask her for help with partials often, but I wanted to make sure I was going in a direction she agreed with (it's a sequel).

WeaselFire
08-21-2012, 04:12 PM
Agents are generally more responsive to current clients, not less. That said, why are you waiting? You still have another novel to write, and it ain't gonna type itself out while you're at the mailbox...

Jeff

suki
08-21-2012, 08:55 PM
We see a thread like this about once a month. Sometimes the issue is the client's unreasonable expectations and lack of patience. But sometimes the agent is truly non-responsive. And a hundred different sitautions in between.

But, assuming your expectations and lack of patience are not the issue, then my advice is, if you are concerned/confused/frustrated, you need to talk to your agent. That talk needs to be professional and as unemotional as you can muster, and then you need to be as clear as you can - ie, if you feel that your agent is not responding in a reasonable period of time, schedule a call to talk. It might be that the agent is extra busy, and that will happen. But it might be there is an issue.

And in the meantime, work on soemthing else. :)



Hi all,

If you've already signed with an agent, I just wanted to know what your experience is of waiting times when you've sent them a new manuscript. My agent is very communicative, so I always know about how long he thinks he'll take, and if he's going to take longer, he sends an email to let me know. But I've never found the wait time unreasonable.

Do you think the agent is more relaxed about reading the ms of an author they've already signed up? Does it slither to the bottom of their teetering reading pile? No. Clients come before queries/requested material/etc if your agent is professional and diligent. BUT, the agent might be in the middle of three deals and reading client materials etc and then you might have to wait your turn.

How long do you think is "about right" for the agent to read and get back to you on ms the second? This is impossible to answer. No one can know what else is on the agents plate. For example, what if I said one month is "about right." But your agent is in the middle of two client deals, helping a client with a crisis with a pending book, and has two client manuscripts that are currently R&Rs with editors waiting. Well, in that scenario, you need to wait since reading your manuscript not yet on sub is less priority that all of that. BUT, if I said one month and your agent could actually turn it around faster, would that be "about right"? You need to talk to your agent. :)

If you have an agent and have submitted a second ms, how long did it take for the agent to get back to you?

This is going to make you crazy. :) You can not compare your agent's workload/response time to others.

If you think your agent is not being responsive, talk to your agent, ask when you might hear, and discuss expectations for communication and response. But be prepared to hear your manuscript is not as high priority as other things the agent has to do, and that may be fair. :)

Now, if it's been months and months, and repeated "I'll get it to you next weeks" then maybe you need a franker talk. But if it's been less, without repeated blown deadlines, then I'm not sure you need to worry yet.

But ask. Be professional. Be non-accusatory. Like, "Hi, Agent, I'm trying to plan my fall. When do you think you'll have a chance to read X and get back to me with comments? I'd like to pencil in some revising time/plan a trip/adjust my work schedule/ etc."

Thanks to all who take the time to read and reply:)

~suki

Steam&Ink
08-22-2012, 02:44 AM
Thanks for the replies, everyone.

I agree with the advice "keep writing on the next one," and I have two WIPs on the go at the moment. But of course it doesn't stop me from wanting to know what I should expect with my current submission.

Suki, thanks for your detailed reply. I really wasn't certain what was a realistic timeframe, and I think you're right about communication being the key. As heyjude points out, anytime waiting feels like forever for an author, so it's hard to keep perspective.

Really appreciate your thoughts, everyone :)

Undercover
08-22-2012, 05:19 PM
Like Suki had said, communication is key. If you're getting a non-responsive agent, it may be time to start looking again. I know how hard it is to get one, believe me. But if you're frustration is mounting without getting all the answers, or getting the blow off, and you're giving this agent other mss. and are waiting too long (which you shouldn't be since you're a client of theirs now and should be more of a priorty over the slush piles) I would consider backing out of the contract.

You wouldn't want to have tons of manuscripts sitting, when you know they can be subbed. I know if it's the same genre, the agents might like to sub one at a time, but should make a reference to it when they pitch your work. The worst thing is having a bad agent, then no agent at all.

tlmorganfield
08-22-2012, 06:54 PM
Communication is definitely key. When I sent my second novel to my agent, I asked her to give me a rough estimate of how much time she needed, so I wouldn't be wondering (and so I know what her own work-load looks like, so my expectations aren't unreasonable). She told me six weeks but got back to me in two. My agent rocks.

suki
08-22-2012, 08:21 PM
Suki, thanks for your detailed reply. I really wasn't certain what was a realistic timeframe, and I think you're right about communication being the key. As heyjude points out, anytime waiting feels like forever for an author, so it's hard to keep perspective.

Really appreciate your thoughts, everyone :)

A lot of the business side of writing is managing expectations and making sure your emotional reactions are grounded in reality.

I don't know the details of your situation, but you do want to make sure you are not reacting from an emotional place, instead of a rational place.

Before you torch the relationship, have some conversations, find out what has been going on and ask questions. If the agent consistently is less than enthusiastic, consistently blows off his/her own estimates by far, then maybe you consider whether it's working. But if this is only the second ms, and you are just antsy, it's better to ask questions and talk then to assume the worse and begin making demands or emotional communications.

If you are at the place where you are wondering about the relationship, and whether it should continue, then be more specific in your concerns, or find a few AWers who are experienced and talk it through.

It is good to be proactive, but I also see some writers with unreasonable expectations leap for all the wrong reasons.

~suki