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Transatlantic
05-13-2013, 06:16 PM
I've received a total of five or six full ms. requests (I forget exactly, as there've also been partials) -- one about 20 months ago, the others over the past six months.

I've received about four or five rejections now. The last two have contained zero information about why the agent passed. The rejections I got in the past did use to include a word of two of explanation (even if it was sometimes vague).

Is this getting more common? I understood you could usually expect a word or two on why they'd rejected a ms. they'd actually seen fit to read.

Can I reply and ask them to be more specific?

Thanks in advance. I was banking on at least a line of feedback as a booby prize; I'm kind of gutted that I don't even get that!

Jamiekswriter
05-13-2013, 06:21 PM
No, please don't -- whatever you do -- reply and ask for more specifics!!

It will mark you as an amateur and a pain in the neck, unfortunately. Most of the time an agent is so busy that they don't have time to write why they rejected a piece and the reason why a lot of them have stopped giving feedback is some authors won't take no for an answer and keep asking them "why" or arguing with their decision.

I completely understand how much it sucks to get so far . . only to get it rejected and you have no idea why. Just chalk it up to subjectivity and move on. I know how that's easier said than done.

The good news, is you're doing something right to get the full requests. So try not to get discouraged. Good luck!

Sage
05-13-2013, 06:27 PM
Some always give feedback on fulls. Some sometimes do, depending on why they rejected. Some don't ever. It depends on the agent and the novel.

It's totally frustrating when you're getting no feedback on multiple fulls. You want to address the problems, but you don't know what they are. It could just be that they weren't the right agents, or there could be something that needs fixing. You just don't know. Unfortunately, short of finding a new batch of betas to tell you what they think is wrong, you're not getting your answers. And betas wouldn't be necessarily able to tell you if it was a marketing-specific issue.

I feel for you.

Susan Littlefield
05-13-2013, 06:58 PM
Trans,

I would not ask for feedback about why they rejected your work. It really doesn't matter why, just that you received a rejection. Time to move on to more submissions.

There could be many reasons for not giving feedback, number one being that agents are very busy. Also, I've heard horror stories from agents who have given feedback and were sorry they did.

Drachen Jager
05-13-2013, 08:15 PM
Probably they didn't give feedback because they didn't read very deep. They know that if they provide a little feedback on the first few chapters, then nothing, that you'll be all up in arms and come back to them screaming "You didn't even get to chapter six! That's when it gets good, you have to keep reading!"

I'm not saying you you but writers in general. If even 1 in 10 writers comes back demanding the agent finish the whole manuscript before rejecting it, they're going to learn pretty quickly that the path of least resistance is no comment at all.

Drachen Jager
05-13-2013, 08:31 PM
Oh, and I'd just like to add. It's not that agents 'no longer' give feedback on certain submissions. That's been going on for years.

Jamesaritchie
05-13-2013, 08:41 PM
Some agents and editors always give a sentence or two of feedback when they read a full. This is usually polite and meaningless. Agents and editors pretty much always give feedback, if there's something meaningful to give feedback on. If it's a book that comes close, but just isn't there, you get feedback. If the book isn't right, but the writer shows promise, you get feedback. They do not, and never have, given feedback when they don't read far enough in to matter, when the book is completely hopeless, etc.

There's no point and no time for giving real feedback when you really can't help the novel, and when there's no indication the writer is sure to send you something great with the next book or two. You always have too many manuscripts, and too little time, so you reserve feedback for times when it matters.

And, of course, about as often as not, all any agent or editor could tell you is, "Didn't hold my interest."

When no meaningful, in-depth feedback happens often enough, it is feedback.

Undercover
05-13-2013, 08:57 PM
It's even harder when you get requests and they don't respond at all. Some do that too.

If you notice a pattern of requests then rejections, it might be a good idea to look it over again with betas, but Sage is right, you really don't know for sure.

Just keep submitting, and keep writing. The trick is to never give up.

Phaeal
05-13-2013, 09:26 PM
The only full I got personal feedback on was the one I sent to my agent, his feedback being, "Yes, please."

That was worth sitting through all the form rejected and no-response rejected fulls. :D And, really, if the answer's no, from a business point of view, the agent shouldn't spend any more time on that submission. If he or she does, you're getting a gift, not your due.

If the agent doesn't send feedback with the original rejection, she doesn't want to supply feedback. Want to sub to that agent again (the answer should be yes -- she bit once)? Don't be a pest.

rac
05-13-2013, 10:22 PM
I agree with the others here. Agents are very busy--literally swamped with queries and manuscripts. Unless they really, really like a book, they aren't going to read through to the end (they may only skim two or three chapters). The lack of feedback, which is so frustrating for you, is unkind but feedback nonetheless. Although it hurts, you need to brush off your bruised ego and move on. You've had enough requests for fulls to indicate that your manuscript has merit. Hard as it is, you need to keep persevering.

DeleyanLee
05-13-2013, 10:52 PM
I never presume I'm going to get feedback, regardless of what I've sent them. After seeing the mounds of submissions editors and agents get, I think I'm pretty blessed just getting the rejection letter so I know to mark that one off the list as definite.

And even when there's some commentary, it's always personal to the agent/editor, so it racks up as fairly meaningless in the long run.

Just gotta keep on plugging at the system.

James D. Macdonald
05-14-2013, 03:53 AM
Can I reply and ask them to be more specific?



No.

All they owe you is one word: "Yes" or "No." (And all-too-many have moved to "Silence equals no.")

When you go to the store to buy a shirt do you owe the manufacturers of all the shirts you didn't buy a word of explanation as to why not?

Cross that agent off your list; submit your work to the next. When you have a new book you can submit that work to the agent who said "no" this time. Rejections are forgotten.

Transatlantic
05-14-2013, 12:57 PM
Thanks to everyone who provided info, sympathy, and encouragement!

Drachen Jager makes a good point - this agent probably just didn't read far, and maybe it didn't seem as if it'd be helpful to say so (for her, at least).

I disagree, though, that rejecting a ms. you requested to see all of (in a specifically tailored format) is akin to choosing not to buy a mass-produced shirt on display a shop. It's a little bit more personal than that. (I said a little, not a lot.)

Terie
05-14-2013, 01:43 PM
I disagree, though, that rejecting a ms. you requested to see all of (in a specifically tailored format) is akin to choosing not to buy a mass-produced shirt on display a shop. It's a little bit more personal than that. (I said a little, not a lot.)

It might be a little more personal, but the bottom line is that it's actually business. It takes time to say more than, 'No, thank you,' and time is money. If the agent isn't going to offer representation, it makes no business sense at all to spend more time than it takes to say, 'No, thank you.'

Some agents choose to say more, but they do so at their cost.

It's not really reasonable for writers to expect agents to spend more time (= money) than is strictly necessary on a project that isn't going to make the agent money in the long run.

Axordil
05-14-2013, 05:24 PM
I got extensive personal feedback--on an Revise & Resubmit. Which is why they call them that.

Beyond that I've gotten one or two sentences from rejected partial or fulls, and that maybe one time in four. Sometimes they've told me useful things, sometimes not. The upshot is: an agent isn't a beta reader.

If you've ever been in business--think of a query as a response to an ongoing RFI, and a submission as an RFP. And publishing is a business first and foremost.

geminirising
05-14-2013, 06:18 PM
If you've ever been in business--think of a query as a response to an ongoing RFI, and a submission as an RFP. And publishing is a business first and foremost.

Right, or even just a garden variety online job posting, where an employer receives hundreds, maybe thousands, of resumes/applications/cover letters/writing samples.

J.Reid
05-15-2013, 04:12 PM
Transatlantic, I sympathize with your cri de couer but I'm one of those agents that doesn't write much more than "not for me" when responding to fulls. It's purely time management.

To see this from my point of view, read a book, any book, then write a thoughtful 250 word analysis. Clock how much time you spend reading then writing.

Responding to queries and fulls is a very very small part of my job. It's the R&D division--no more than 10% of my time should go to it on any given week. I'm committed to replying to every query, and trying to read as many fulls as I can manage. NOT writing more than a few words in reply to fulls gives me time to read more.

You're taking one for the writing team with these short replies, sorry.

Transatlantic
05-15-2013, 04:32 PM
Thanks for the insight, J. Reid. I'd just somehow gotten the idea that comments on fulls were the norm. I get where you're coming from. Good to get the view from the other side of the desk.

WeaselFire
05-15-2013, 04:54 PM
The fulls were rejected because they were just too awesome for those agents to adequately represent. The agents were left speechless by your prose and unable to add any comments.

Leave it at that and move on.

Jeff

Wisteria Vine
05-15-2013, 06:25 PM
You're taking one for the writing team with these short replies, sorry.

:roll:

Phaeal
05-15-2013, 08:27 PM
The fulls were rejected because they were just too awesome for those agents to adequately represent. The agents were left speechless by your prose and unable to add any comments.

Leave it at that and move on.

Jeff

Yeah, that's what I always figured.

:D

BenPanced
05-15-2013, 09:53 PM
I'd expect feedback if I were already a client. Otherwise, agents are under no obligation to provide any.

Ruth2
05-16-2013, 03:21 AM
I'm always happy just to get a 'no, thanks'.

Marian Perera
05-16-2013, 04:22 AM
I once submitted a requested full to a reputable agent who never replied, even after I nudged. Compared to that, even a "not for me" is good.

Takoglint
05-16-2013, 05:28 PM
Damn...10% of an agent's time goes to queries, that's even less than I thought.

Phaeal
05-16-2013, 05:30 PM
I once submitted a requested full to a reputable agent who never replied, even after I nudged. Compared to that, even a "not for me" is good.

Yeah, me too, a couple of times. What made it sting was that these were about the only agents who requested paper copies, which cost me a ton to send.

Oh well.

Little Ming
05-16-2013, 08:15 PM
Damn...10% of an agent's time goes to queries, that's even less than I thought.

That's actually more than I thought.

Drachen Jager
05-16-2013, 09:55 PM
Damn...10% of an agent's time goes to queries, that's even less than I thought.

How much money does an agent make on reading and responding to queries?

Nothing. Not a cent.

Agents make money by representing clients. Reading queries can help an agent acquire new clients, but the bulk of their time has to be spent on those they already have.

Wouldn't it suck to finally sign with an agent, only to find they spend all their time on queries and don't have enough left over to get your book out there properly?

Takoglint
05-16-2013, 10:06 PM
How much money does an agent make on reading and responding to queries?

Nothing. Not a cent.

Agents make money by representing clients. Reading queries can help an agent acquire new clients, but the bulk of their time has to be spent on those they already have.

Wouldn't it suck to finally sign with an agent, only to find they spend all their time on queries and don't have enough left over to get your book out there properly?

Oh, I don't mean they should spend a whole day reading queries. I understand they should focus mainly on their current clients for sure, I was just expecting the numbers to be something like..1/5 or 20% or so.

Old Hack
05-16-2013, 10:22 PM
That's actually more than I thought.

Me too.

sovermonter
05-17-2013, 12:39 AM
I'll be a bit of a dissenter here, only to the point of saying that agents who form-reject the fulls they've requested --or who don't respond at all-- will likely become the very last agents a writer would consider with his/her next project. Which might hurt the agent, since usually, if they requested a full on Project # 1, that's an indication that the writer has some real talent and could deliver a superb Project # 2. I could be wrong about all of this, though.

BenPanced
05-17-2013, 01:22 AM
Or it could be the author delivered an incredibly strong first three chapters and it all unravels in the fifth. The agent doesn't know until they've seen the full manuscript. It's not all on the agent.

Drachen Jager
05-17-2013, 01:42 AM
I don't think there's any shortage of writers with potential. It's writers who realize that potential who are truly rare and interest agents.

Ken
05-17-2013, 02:01 AM
I was banking on at least a line of feedback as a booby prize; I'm kind of gutted that I don't even get that!

... am sure your own ms is good, judging by all the full requests!

But some folk who sub to agents sub tripe,
which only comes to light when the full is read.
Would these writers really want a critique?
A critique that'd read something like,

"WHY DID YOU BOTHER SENDING ME THIS WORTHLESS JUNK."

"WERE YOU ON DRUGS WHEN YOU WROTE THE LAST HALF?"

"THIS MS IS FIT FOR THE TRASH HEAP."

So agents send, "thanks, but not for me" replies,
or no reply = no replies,
as an act of kindness!

rac
05-17-2013, 02:48 AM
That's actually more than I thought.
I know a agent whose assistant reads all the queries and the partials and fulls before the agent sees them; she's the agent's filter. In the end, the percentage of manuscripts that some agents see may be much smaller than ten percent.

Takoglint
05-17-2013, 03:41 AM
Transatlantic, I sympathize with your cri de couer but I'm one of those agents that doesn't write much more than "not for me" when responding to fulls. It's purely time management.

To see this from my point of view, read a book, any book, then write a thoughtful 250 word analysis. Clock how much time you spend reading then writing.

Responding to queries and fulls is a very very small part of my job. It's the R&D division--no more than 10% of my time should go to it on any given week. I'm committed to replying to every query, and trying to read as many fulls as I can manage. NOT writing more than a few words in reply to fulls gives me time to read more.

You're taking one for the writing team with these short replies, sorry.


In case anyone is confused. Ms. Reid was saying she devote no more than 10% of her time to reading queries, not 10% of the queries make it to next stage/request manuscript/lalaland.

Old Hack
05-17-2013, 09:55 AM
I know a agent whose assistant reads all the queries and the partials and fulls before the agent sees them; she's the agent's filter. In the end, the percentage of manuscripts that some agents see may be much smaller than ten percent.

It's common for assistants and interns to sift out the best from the slush pile: agents are too busy doing things to earn their wage.

I'd be surprised if agents even saw five per cent of submissions. I've dealt with a few slush piles in my time and I'd estimate that less than three per cent of the slush pile is publishable. Why would agents bother to look at anything but the good stuff? What purpose would that serve?

Putputt
05-17-2013, 11:52 AM
I'll be a bit of a dissenter here, only to the point of saying that agents who form-reject the fulls they've requested --or who don't respond at all-- will likely become the very last agents a writer would consider with his/her next project. Which might hurt the agent, since usually, if they requested a full on Project # 1, that's an indication that the writer has some real talent and could deliver a superb Project # 2. I could be wrong about all of this, though.

Ehh, no. I would still quite happily query them with Project #2.

quicklime
05-17-2013, 05:19 PM
I'll be a bit of a dissenter here, only to the point of saying that agents who form-reject the fulls they've requested --or who don't respond at all-- will likely become the very last agents a writer would consider with his/her next project. Which might hurt the agent, since usually, if they requested a full on Project # 1, that's an indication that the writer has some real talent and could deliver a superb Project # 2. I could be wrong about all of this, though.


I suspect you are....only because we don't go to agents for betas, we go based upon their record of sales and other attributes.

I'd LIKE to get feedback when I submit, but it has become pretty obvious there's no reasonable way to expect it, at any step in the process. So I certainl wouldn't pan anyone for it, from my first or second work query pools.

Phaeal
05-17-2013, 06:36 PM
I'll be a bit of a dissenter here, only to the point of saying that agents who form-reject the fulls they've requested --or who don't respond at all-- will likely become the very last agents a writer would consider with his/her next project. Which might hurt the agent, since usually, if they requested a full on Project # 1, that's an indication that the writer has some real talent and could deliver a superb Project # 2. I could be wrong about all of this, though.

I might have been wary of requerying an agent who never responded at all to a full. However, I would have had no qualms about requerying an agent who sent a form rejection.

waylander
05-17-2013, 09:48 PM
Thinking back to when I was querying, I had maybe 10 full manuscript requests. I didn't get any feedback that I could use from any of those 10 fulls. I did get some explanations of why it wasn't right for that agent, but nothing that left me thinking 'I can fix that'.

rac
05-19-2013, 12:47 AM
It's common for assistants and interns to sift out the best from the slush pile: agents are too busy doing things to earn their wage.

Why would agents bother to look at anything but the good stuff? What purpose would that serve?

Actually, I knew that agents (not just one, although I was thinking of a specific one) used interns and assistants to sift out the best from the slush pile, but I didn't know how to say it tactfully. You did!

It wouldn't serve any purpose for agents to go through slush piles themselves unless they were just starting out in the business and couldn't afford to have the work done for them.

sovermonter
05-19-2013, 04:25 AM
Fair points. What I intended to say was that, if some writers were to choose to whom they might submit their next project, they might have this priority:

--First would be the agents who gave personal rejections to the previous full.

--Second would be newer agents, or agents the writers had discovered in the interim.

--Third would be the agents who had given form rejects or who never responded at all.


Again, though, it's just my opinion. Your Kilometrage May Vary.

AlwaysJuly
05-19-2013, 04:48 AM
I've never gotten feedback off a rejected full request. Of course I'd love feedback; it'd be nice to know why so I knew if there were something with the book that I might want to reconsider. But I understand why that feedback would not be on their priority list.

Elaine Margarett
05-19-2013, 05:59 AM
Fair points. What I intended to say was that, if some writers were to choose to whom they might submit their next project, they might have this priority:

--First would be the agents who gave personal rejections to the previous full.

--Second would be newer agents, or agents the writers had discovered in the interim.

--Third would be the agents who had given form rejects or who never responded at all.


Again, though, it's just my opinion. Your Kilometrage May Vary.

I only submit to agents with solid sales and who have contacts with the editors and publishing houses where my ms would hopefully be a good fit. That is my criteria.

I've never rec'd an explanation when a requested full was rejected other than very general.

It's just the way the industry works, for the reasons stated earlier. Try not to take it personally. There is so much we have no control over. Write the best you can and strive to improve. That's really all you can do.

And welcome to the cooler. :-)

J.Reid
05-19-2013, 11:49 AM
I read all my own queries. The assistants and interns may read things to make sure aliens don't arrive in Chapter 14 before I take a look, but if I request a full, it's cause I read your query and want to read your novel.

Elaine Margarett
05-19-2013, 06:02 PM
I want to add that on a request for a Revise and Resubmit, I received a form rejection. No explanation, just "No thanks."

I stopped submitting this manuscript at this point because I knew something was wrong and it was up to me, the author, to figure it out.

I rewrote the entire thing, changed the POV from third person to first person POV. (It's a mystery. What was I thinking writing it in third?!) I cut scenes, added scenes and changed the word count, reducing it by 3K.

Last week I started sending it out again. Just 4 submissions so far because my computer is cranky and unreliable. Of the 4 queries I've rec'd a request for a partial that a day later resulted in a request for the full which I sent out a few days ago.

Moral of the story; it's your story. It's up to you to figure out what makes it work.

rac
05-19-2013, 07:44 PM
Moral of the story; it's your story. It's up to you to figure out what makes it work.

Yes!!!

Axordil
05-20-2013, 05:13 PM
I rewrote the entire thing, changed the POV from third person to first person POV.

This can make a huge, huge difference, and not just when there's a mystery. Characters can come off as very different when the view is from inside their own brain.

And congratulations!

Elaine Margarett
05-20-2013, 08:02 PM
This can make a huge, huge difference, and not just when there's a mystery. Characters can come off as very different when the view is from inside their own brain.

And congratulations!

Thanks! It was incredibly hard but it was the right thing to do. Just sorry I didn't do it a long time ago when I first considered (and rejected) it.

I need to learn to trust that inner voice when it comes to writing. If something doesn't feel quite right, it's most certainly wrong. :-/

sovermonter
05-29-2013, 03:11 AM
Congratulations on the request for the full. The fact that this happened so quickly is promising. Whatever happens, congratulations on reworking the entire manuscript from third person to first. No small accomplishment!

Donna Pudick
06-13-2013, 07:14 PM
I don't do it often, but I recently gave an author feedback on a full that I requested. The critique was extensive (I REALLY thought I was helping her). The result was some pretty nasty blowback from her (all of it innaccurate), which she shared with this forum. It may be one reason why agents don't do it. However, I AM going to take HER advice and answer with a simple "not for us" from now on.

Transatlantic
06-13-2013, 07:26 PM
Gah. That's unfortunate. Sorry that there are bad apples out there spoiling it for the rest of us. I can't blame you, if that's the thanks you get.

Windcutter
06-27-2013, 06:32 AM
It's even harder when you get requests and they don't respond at all. Some do that too.
Now this is so rude, I don't even. This isn't some random query. A "nope thx bye" would do just fine. Though I think I might have an illusion of full requests being more important (from an agent's point of view) than they actually are.

I must say I always got my full Rs (so far) and most of them had small explanations attached. At the same time, I have a nagging suspicion the majority of those replies were a product of good old copypaste. Never mind, though, I just want a definite yes or no response. Even if it's just one word. Easy to please, that's me. Funny that the longest and most personal reply which was obviously about my ms and not any kind of form response came from the hottest rock star agent out of the bunch. I think it was an "almost there" case.


I might have been wary of requerying an agent who never responded at all to a full. However, I would have had no qualms about requerying an agent who sent a form rejection.
This. So much this.

frankiebrown
06-27-2013, 08:50 AM
I'll be a bit of a dissenter here, only to the point of saying that agents who form-reject the fulls they've requested --or who don't respond at all-- will likely become the very last agents a writer would consider with his/her next project. Which might hurt the agent, since usually, if they requested a full on Project # 1, that's an indication that the writer has some real talent and could deliver a superb Project # 2. I could be wrong about all of this, though.

Nah, I'd still query them. Though I will say that nothing turns me off like a "dear author" letter. I do take those off the ol' query spreadsheet. I once got a "dear author" letter from an agent who I read in an interview as saying a "dear agent" email turned her off. I'd rather receive nothing at all.

Girl Friday
06-28-2013, 03:38 AM
I have to say I'm slightly surprised by this thread. I'd say at least two-thirds of the agents who requested partials or fulls from me gave feedback (anywhere from a line or two to a page), and several others gave feedback on queries+pages, too. Maybe I've just run into some particularly kind agents, or maybe simply ones who were interested enough to want to see what I wrote next.

(And while I'm not at all offended at form rejections, I would be annoyed about a form on an R&R, or a no-response-at-all on a full.)

Steven Hutson
07-01-2013, 02:29 AM
It's nice to get useful feedback, but at the end of the day it isn't their job. In my experience, the more I try to be helpful, the more it invites arguments.

Steven Hutson
07-01-2013, 02:32 AM
Wouldn't it suck to finally sign with an agent, only to find they spend all their time on queries and don't have enough left over to get your book out there properly?

Bravo. :hooray:

Steven Hutson
07-01-2013, 02:34 AM
Many agents get hundreds of submissions per week. It's almost impossible to even read them all, much less analyze and give thoughtful feedback. They could never do a thing to serve their existing clients.

cornflake
07-01-2013, 02:41 AM
Many agents get hundreds of submissions per week. It's almost impossible to even read them all, much less analyze and give thoughtful feedback. They could never do a thing to serve their existing clients.

The thread is about fulls, requested by agents. They're not getting hundreds of those a week unless they're deranged or not real agents.

Steven Hutson
07-01-2013, 03:41 AM
The thread is about fulls, requested by agents. They're not getting hundreds of those a week unless they're deranged or not real agents.

Yup. ;) And within the broader context of an agent's work day/week, he/she can't possibly give meaningful feedback to everyone. Especially when it invites an argument who thinks he has been wronged, which happens often.

Medievalist
07-01-2013, 03:42 AM
Yup. ;) And within the broader context of an agent's work day/week, he/she can't possibly give meaningful feedback to everyone. Especially when it invites an argument who thinks he has been wronged, which happens often.


How very curious.

I've never even met an argument that thinks he has been wrong.

Steven Hutson
07-01-2013, 03:49 AM
LOL, Medievalist, let me try that again.

"Especially when it invites an argument from an author who thinks he has been wronged, which happens often."

cornflake
07-01-2013, 03:53 AM
Yup. ;) And within the broader context of an agent's work day/week, he/she can't possibly give meaningful feedback to everyone. Especially when it invites an argument who thinks he has been wronged, which happens often.

They should be able, which is different from willing, to give feedback in some form to people they request fulls from. There aren't that many of them.

Steven Hutson
07-01-2013, 04:33 AM
Not their job, cornflake. Their job is to serve the clients they've already committed to. And they're not interested in debates with those who can't take no for an answer.

If you want a professional critique, there are tons of freelance editors out there who can do a good job for you. More than any freebie you will ever get from an agent.

cornflake
07-01-2013, 06:25 AM
Not their job, cornflake. Their job is to serve the clients they've already committed to. And they're not interested in debates with those who can't take no for an answer.

If you want a professional critique, there are tons of freelance editors out there who can do a good job for you. More than any freebie you will ever get from an agent.

Way to not get new clients.

Steven Hutson
07-01-2013, 06:51 AM
Way to not get new clients.

You don't understand, cornflake. Publishing is a buyer's market. The reason why agents don't critique the writers they reject, is because they're busy serving those they accepted.

quicklime
07-01-2013, 07:25 AM
Way to not get new clients.

i guess the truth is i would prefer to hear back, but I'm also feeling the writer is at least partially in the "beggars can't be choosers" position. That's not some self-doubting excuse or whine, just......i intend to start off querying one agent......then i go down the list. That said, the agents i want were selected for things like track record, "fit," etc. over if they will give feedback to partials or fulls.

Would I LIKE the feedback? Yes.

Would I use it as selection criteria? No, they have pretty free reign in my case I guess.

cornflake
07-01-2013, 08:32 AM
You don't understand, cornflake. Publishing is a buyer's market. The reason why agents don't critique the writers they reject, is because they're busy serving those they accepted.

Oh, I think I do. It's alienating potential clients to not respond at all (we're not talking about editing [and judging by what I've seen reported on the forums, no, there aren't tons of freelance editors who can do a good job; there are freelance editors who can do a good job and a bunch of hacks who think they can edit because they like to read.] but about responding to submissions specifically requested as a second or third step in the process.

It doesn't take all that much time to write a couple of graphs to someone.

This, again, is analogous to a real estate agent's business. Real estate agents are really busy, yet they make the time to respond to potential future clients whom they've made some contacts with. If they spent all their time simply servicing their current clients, they'd soon find themselves with a lot of free time.

Old Hack
07-01-2013, 11:15 AM
Many agents get hundreds of submissions per week. It's almost impossible to even read them all, much less analyze and give thoughtful feedback. They could never do a thing to serve their existing clients.

I know that agents receive many submissions each week, but I find it extraordinary for you to claim that they might not read them all. Do you read every submission you receive at the agency you've created?
(http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=242152)
I know a few agents and all of them read all the submissions they receive. They might not read every submission in its entirety: but they do read enough of each one to be able to reach a fair and reasonable opinion of its quality, and whether or not they'd like to represent it.

Giving feedback on every submission is another thing entirely.

Steven Hutson
07-01-2013, 08:50 PM
Yes, Hack, I read my submissions. But I'm not the busiest guy in town. Some agents I know, receive many more subs than I do.

Yes, my process is much like the agents you know: Often I read just enough to make a preliminary assessment, and set aside the ones I want to examine further.

Steven Hutson
07-01-2013, 08:52 PM
It doesn't take all that much time to write a couple of graphs to someone.

When you have hundreds of submissions a week? Oh, yes, that time can add up very quickly.

Terie
07-01-2013, 09:16 PM
When you have hundreds of submissions a week? Oh, yes, that time can add up very quickly.

Exactly how many agents get hundreds of requested partials and fulls per week?

Because that's what this topic is about. It's not about queries, it's about requested fulls. (Which would be clear to you if you actually read 1) the thread title, 2) the complete thread, and 3) Cornflake's posts.)

Thedrellum
07-01-2013, 09:17 PM
When you have hundreds of submissions a week? Oh, yes, that time can add up very quickly.

Again, the reference was to FULL requests. If you are requesting hundreds of full manuscripts a week, then yes, you have no time to write anything in response.

If you are requesting a few fulls a week (which is more normal), then you possibly have time to respond (and authors certainly appreciate it). Though, again, that is up to the agent (of course).

cornflake
07-02-2013, 12:20 AM
i guess the truth is i would prefer to hear back, but I'm also feeling the writer is at least partially in the "beggars can't be choosers" position. That's not some self-doubting excuse or whine, just......i intend to start off querying one agent......then i go down the list. That said, the agents i want were selected for things like track record, "fit," etc. over if they will give feedback to partials or fulls.

Would I LIKE the feedback? Yes.

Would I use it as selection criteria? No, they have pretty free reign in my case I guess.

I don't disagree, but I meant it more in the bridge-burning way. If they were interested enough to request a full and then don't respond at all to those submissions if they're not offering representation, they may end up being requeried or even chasing someone who ends up a success one way or another.

In which case, I see what you're saying about it not being a criteria but if there are two or three agents next time offering you representation and one had sent you a response on the full he or she had previously rejected and the other had never responded... :Shrug:

That's how I meant it, and I can see it still not mattering to someone, if it's a great agent or whatever, or the only agent who responds, but in a general sense, I think the above scenario is going to bite them in the butt eventually a time or two so seems easier to dash off something.

I did start simply arguing ability, not will, however.

MandyHubbard
07-02-2013, 08:39 PM
I'll simply add that just becuase an agent doesn't give you a personal response/specific reason for the rejection, it doesn't mean that s/he does that on all fulls. Only that s/he didn't feel strongly enough about the manuscript that s/he could articulate specific reasons.

There are plenty of times I send a very vague rejection to an author becuase I don't connect with the character/voice, but I don't specifically say that becuase it's not that there is something that is wrong with the character/voice, only that it didn't click for me. If I only read two chapters and don't feel that strongly, and send along a rejection saying I didn't connect with her character or the voice didn't work for me, I would hate for a writer to think, "crap! My character sucks, time for rewrites!"

Probably one or two out of every five full MS passes I send are vague, "didn't fall in love" types, and then the others are specific, sometimes quite long. I just sent one this morning that was 5-6 paragraphs.

quicklime
07-02-2013, 10:17 PM
no worries on my end, cornflake, and it is a business risk they'd take. One I would prefer to avoid if i was in their shoes for all the reasons you mention....but i also figure I don't know enough to say what their world is like, and yeah, if someone I really wanted didn't send feedback, i'd still chase them.

depends on the agent and the writer, but yeah, they would have to be winnowing their list at least partially by not giving feedback.....although i am not sure how much

Elaine Margarett
07-03-2013, 02:00 AM
I don't disagree, but I meant it more in the bridge-burning way. If they were interested enough to request a full and then don't respond at all to those submissions if they're not offering representation, they may end up being requeried or even chasing someone who ends up a success one way or another.

...

Honestly, I don't see an agent worrying about burning a bridge with a writer who's work they rejected. And the reasons for not giving feedback are many, from not having the time, not wanting blow back, to simply not having the interest.

A response of some kind is professional. Simply saying, "not for me" or some other form of "no thanks" is enough. Then you know you can move on.

DahlELama
07-05-2013, 02:11 AM
As someone said earlier, I'm also pretty surprised to see this thread - it's been really rare for me not to get comments on fulls. Not massively extensive ones or anything, but I'm actually not sure I ever remember getting a form on a full.

That said, even just from working on contests like Pitch Wars and Pitch Madness, I know how incredibly time consuming it is to not only read through material but also to articulate why you're passing. If I got as much material as a successful agent... holy crap, I have no idea how they even function.

I am, however, in the camp of "using no response = no *on a full* is an agent I wouldn't query again." I know agents get swamped, but to me, that's just too much. Send a form. Acknowledge the author sent you something that means a lot to him/her and got his/her hopes up. I just can't see enjoying working with an agent who doesn't afford that level of humanity.

cornflake
07-05-2013, 02:41 AM
Honestly, I don't see an agent worrying about burning a bridge with a writer who's work they rejected. And the reasons for not giving feedback are many, from not having the time, not wanting blow back, to simply not having the interest.

A response of some kind is professional. Simply saying, "not for me" or some other form of "no thanks" is enough. Then you know you can move on.

I'm only saying I think some kind of response should be sent for a requested full. I think a few sentences is appropriate, even if they're the totally generic 'thank you for sending... while I ... it's just not right for me at this time/too busy/whatever.'

It's not only burning bridges with someone the agent has rejected (I think that should, in general, be a consideration - I know of more than one person who was what they considered unprofessionally rejected, later went on to be very successful and would never entertain working with that company, house, whatever.), but possibly with others. The 'Bewares...' section on AW is kind of testament to that and the same happens in person. If someone asks about an agent and three people pop up and say the agent seemed interested, requested a full and was never heard from again, the person may pass. It's not likely to be a huge number of people but :Shrug:

Maxx
04-19-2016, 09:32 PM
I read all my own queries. The assistants and interns may read things to make sure aliens don't arrive in Chapter 14 before I take a look, but if I request a full, it's cause I read your query and want to read your novel.

What is it about Chapter 14?

paddismac
04-19-2016, 10:04 PM
What is it about Chapter 14?

I'm sure it's the aliens that are more concerning than anything about Chapter 14!

Ms Reid doesn't represent aliens. :aliensmile: (That's the SF sort of aliens, in case that was less than clear!)

Niiicola
04-21-2016, 05:31 AM
My levels of feedback improved as my manuscripts got better. First book was all forms and one nonresponse on a full. Second book was a mix of silence, forms, and personalized feedback. With my third book, which got an agent, I had personalized responses from pretty much everybody. I do know of several agents, however, who only send forms for full rejections, for reasons mentioned above like time constraints and angry authors.

Maybe this is petty, but I never requeried anybody who didn't respond to a full request after I nudged. I don't expect a ton from somebody who's not my agent, but that seems like common decency. Even a form is fine, just to be able to cross them off the list and move on.

ETA: Yikes, I didn't realize this thread was from 2013. Oops!

mayqueen
04-21-2016, 06:19 AM
Wow, zombie thread!

My track record for not responding to fulls and form Rs seems to have only gotten worse over four manuscripts (despite an increasing number of requests). So, I don't know.

Undercover
04-21-2016, 06:12 PM
Every time I query, there's always some requested fulls that go unanswered. It does seem like it's getting worse.

Lots more rejections too (at least for me.)

Old Hack
04-21-2016, 09:03 PM
I do think it's getting worse, because agents are getting tired of being hassled by the writers they reject. Many now quietly withdraw, rather than outright reject, because they've found it lessens the abuse they receive.

Sad times.

Dennis E. Taylor
04-21-2016, 09:19 PM
I do think it's getting worse, because agents are getting tired of being hassled by the writers they reject. Many now quietly withdraw, rather than outright reject, because they've found it lessens the abuse they receive.

Sad times.

One option (not a perfect one, but better than nothing) would be to send rejections from an un-monitored email account.

Marian Perera
04-21-2016, 09:25 PM
Every time I query, there's always some requested fulls that go unanswered. It does seem like it's getting worse.

Same here. For my most recent manuscript, I've got a requested full and requested partial that the agents acknowledged receiving, but never responded to after that.

Old Hack
04-21-2016, 09:31 PM
One option (not a perfect one, but better than nothing) would be to send rejections from an un-monitored email account.

Wouldn't work.

Agents' email addresses are easily available. Rejections go out, abusive emails come in to all the agency accounts. People send ugly things in through the post. They wait outside the building hoping to catch the agent as she leaves the office. It's horrible what some writers will do. The stories I've heard.

Dennis E. Taylor
04-22-2016, 12:37 AM
Wouldn't work.

Agents' email addresses are easily available. Rejections go out, abusive emails come in to all the agency accounts. People send ugly things in through the post. They wait outside the building hoping to catch the agent as she leaves the office. It's horrible what some writers will do. The stories I've heard.

Human nature never ceases to unpleasantly surprise me.

LuckyStar
05-04-2016, 09:25 PM
It seems to be common courtesy to send at least a form rejection after a submission is requested.

At least, the writer isn't left in limbo about the submission and can update the R column in the spreadsheet of submissions.

As for feedback, I wouldn't put much stock in it from something that's been rejected. All it is is that particular agent's opinion, better to move on to the other agents you're querying until you meet up with the one who shares your vision.

Unless, the feedback says something positive such as IF you change the name Louis to Lionel, I will represent you. Then that is a different story.

Of course, nowadays, most agents won't reply to a submission saying go back to English 101, or best you find a new career and leave publishing to writers. We'd expect if writing was that horrendous, a desirable, knowledgeable agent wouldn't request the ms in the first place.

Jessica_312
05-10-2016, 04:43 AM
Same here. For my most recent manuscript, I've got a requested full and requested partial that the agents acknowledged receiving, but never responded to after that.
This happened to me. I received a request for revisions on a full manuscript, took all the notes and a solid month of overhauling the story to accommodate the agent's wishes, and then proceeded to not hear a single word, not even an acknowledgement that the revised manuscript was received. I'd rather a one-sentence rejection than total silence, for sure.

LaneHeymont
05-28-2016, 09:04 AM
I do think it's getting worse, because agents are getting tired of being hassled by the writers they reject. Many now quietly withdraw, rather than outright reject, because they've found it lessens the abuse they receive.

Sad times.


This is absolutely true. You can usually pick up the vibe of someone who may react badly, so it’s smarter/safer to keep it vague or — I hate to say — not respond.