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Jillio
05-06-2014, 01:59 AM
Hi all!
I was contacted about 6 weeks ago by a very established & well-respected agent who had requested my full. She said was reading my ms and really loved it so far. She then wrote, "You will be hearing from me shortly." A month passed and nothing. In the meantime, I got an R&R from another agent. So I sent a brief, friendly note to Agent #1 asking if she was still considering the ms. She said yes and asked if she could have till Friday. Friday came and she emailed and said "I'm not quite done yet, can I have till Monday?" I said yes, of course. That was 10 days ago and I haven't heard a peep! Is this her way of passing? Doesn't that seem like a cruel and unusual pass? I would really LOVE to work with this agent - she is my TOP TOP TOP choice - but I am confused by this behavior. Is this typical? Thoughts? Advice?

Quickbread
05-06-2014, 02:20 AM
Is this her way of passing?

It sounds like her way of being incredibly busy. I'd wait as long as it takes. Agents have nothing to gain by doling out cheap praise or stringing writers along. If she was going to pass, she'd just pass and be done with it and you.

It sounds like she's very interested, and very busy. I'd just keep querying if I were you, and try to be patient. I know it's not easy.

And congrats on the great interest! Good luck!

mayqueen
05-06-2014, 02:55 AM
I agree with Quick. Sounds like the agent is interested and also very busy. I wouldn't contact her again until you either have an offer or three months have passed. It's possible that she's deciding and will be in contact as soon as she can with good news. It's also possible that she will express enthusiastic interest and then you will never hear from her again. It sucks, but it happens (and has happened to me).

I know how hard waiting is, especially when an agent has expressed such enthusiastic interest! Take it as a good sign about your manuscript. In the meantime, keep querying! And what about this R&R? Did the R&R resonate with you? Are you planning to make the changes for this other agent?

popgun62
05-06-2014, 03:46 AM
This is normal behavior for a lot of agents. It's not because they're being rude, they're just extremely busy. Client business is #1 on an agent's to do list, so I would just bide my time and wait to hear back. Unfortunately, it's possible you'll never hear back, which has happened to me even with requested manuscripts. All you can do is wait and continue sending out queries to other agents on your list.

mellymel
05-06-2014, 04:30 AM
Just wanted to also point out that there was a huge conference this past weekend (actually, I think there were two different ones going on?) and I know a lot of agents were very busy getting ready the week or so before and are playing catch up now.

In any event, I wish you the best of luck!

Jillio
05-06-2014, 06:21 AM
Thanks for the input everyone! I'm SO not a patient person; I guess this is the universe's way of telling me I need to become one. I really appreciate the feedback though- connecting with others makes this whole process much easier to take :)

Mayqueen - you asked about the R&R: It was interesting. The agent gave me some very general feedback about one element of the story she'd like to see exploited further. I do agree with her suggestion (this was something I struggled with during the writing process), so I have been thinking about how to do that more effectively. But I'll admit the "You'll be hearing from me shortly," email from my Dream Agent had me hopeful, so I haven't really gone back into full revision-mode. The R&R agent said lots of nice things and that she would love to see the ms again if I decided to make changes - but we didn't have a ton of back and forth.
But since there is nothing to do but wait, I might as well get back to work!

mayqueen
05-06-2014, 06:37 AM
It's possible that Dream Agent will have the same feedback, especially if it's something you're aware of struggling with. If nothing else, at least you'll have some time to formulate a response if Dream Agent brings it up during an offer -- or at least a head start on an R&R! (I don't always try to look on the bright side. Today is special for some reason. :) Hang in there. Waiting is brutal.)

alexaherself
05-06-2014, 02:39 PM
It sounds very unreliable and frankly unprofessional, to me. Presumably she knows another agent is potentially interested?

I must say that I'd be less patient than you're being, in these circumstances. And I'm not sure that I'd even want to be represented by this agent.

GinJones
05-06-2014, 06:17 PM
Save the original version, copy it to a new document, and do the revisions suggested by the second agent (assuming that, as you said, you think the revisions will improve the story). By the time you're done with those revisions, you'll either have heard from the other agent or not. If not, send the revised version to the agent who requested them.

That gives you at least a couple weeks of something to do instead of fretting. Then you can make the hard decision.

Quickbread
05-06-2014, 07:19 PM
It sounds very unreliable and frankly unprofessional, to me. Presumably she knows another agent is potentially interested?

Sorry, but I respectfully disagree with this. The agent did respond to the initial follow-up inquiry, and in publishing, six weeks is the blink of an eye. Good agents are incredibly busy, especially well-established "dream" agents. And, as it should be, dealing with everyday business with clients and editors will nearly always trump reading requested fulls -- particularly at a time of year when many agents are busy with conferences where a great deal of important sales contacts happen.

An agent wouldn't feel very pressured by knowing that a writer has gotten an R&R. In most cases, an R&R would take months to play out. And in fact, telling them you've got an R&R out with another agent isn't standard protocol and might work against you.

It could possibly be a sign of the way this agent works in general, or it could be just bad timing. You'll never know. That's why the best thing to do is take the compliments as positive feedback and move on with more queries.

leon66a
05-06-2014, 08:39 PM
Sorry, but I respectfully disagree with this. The agent did respond to the initial follow-up inquiry, and in publishing, six weeks is the blink of an eye. Good agents are incredibly busy, especially well-established "dream" agents. And, as it should be, dealing with everyday business with clients and editors will nearly always trump reading requested fulls -- particularly at a time of year when many agents are busy with conferences where a great deal of important sales contacts happen.

An agent wouldn't feel very pressured by knowing that a writer has gotten an R&R. In most cases, an R&R would take months to play out. And in fact, telling them you've got an R&R out with another agent isn't standard protocol and might work against you.

It could possibly be a sign of the way this agent works in general, or it could be just bad timing. You'll never know. That's why the best thing to do is take the compliments as positive feedback and move on with more queries.

But don't you think that when an agent (or anyone) says "Can I have until Monday?" there is a professional obligation to have some communication around Monday? All you said would be correct if the agent had not implied there would be some communication on a specific date. Once the agent makes that representation, then it seems the professional thing to do is to follow through on that.

Quickbread
05-06-2014, 09:00 PM
I don't think it's that big of a transgression at the full request stage, especially when there's no pending offer from another agent. If an agent promised to call the author on a certain day and didn't, that'd be a totally different story.

I don't think it's the greatest thing ever that the agent didn't honor their word, but I disagree that it shows the agent to be unreliable or unprofessional. She might be, but it's hard to tell from these few events.

There are many potential, legitimate circumstances that could prevent the agent from following through, especially at this time of year. It also could be that the agent may see huge potential in the manuscript but think it needs more work so is waiting to find a chunk of time when she has the mental space to put her editorial thoughts together before she responds. It takes a lot of effort to read and write editorial comments.

From my own history: my current agent (who is very responsive and professional to the utmost) never responded to my original full, which she enthusiastically requested. One year and one ex-agent later, I looked her up to requery her and found she was at a different agency. She was thrilled to hear from me and ultimately signed me. She responds to my emails within a day and is prompt for every call we schedule. She's already hustling on pitching my novel, too, which I'm still finishing revisions on.

The point is, you just never know the real-life circumstances getting in the way of an agent's ability to read a manuscript, so labeling someone as unreliable or unprofessional is unfair without knowing more information.

Life and work happen. It is frustrating and taxing on a writer's patience, but what can you do? I think the best solution is to just make a note of what happened, keep an open mind, and keep moving forward.

whirlaway
05-06-2014, 09:01 PM
Hi Jillio,

Agent #1 is giving you some valuable information about herself. Heed it. She told you she would get back to you Friday. Then when Friday passed, she said Monday. Then she still didn't get back to you.

Look, everybody's busy. There are too types of busy people--people who know their own limitations and don't overschedule themselves and overpromise. And people who habitually underestimate the amount of time they need in order to get things done.

When I was doing my doctorate, my advisor had 20 other graduate students besides me--more than any other prof in our department. He always got back to me promptly and he *always* got back to me when he said he would. He would tell me, "I've got a conference coming up this weekend, but I will get to your chapter next week and have my feedback for you by the end of that week."

He always made good on his promises. He never came back to me with an excuse like, "Sorry, been too busy on this end. I'll get to it soon."

His father passed away the day before my defense. I offered to try and change the date, but he said he would be there, and because he is the kind of person who always makes good on his promises, he was.

I learned a lot from him. I learned to say, "I'm sorry, I can't take on that commitment as I have too much on my plate right now. Please try Dr. So-and-So instead." I learned never to promise to do something by a certain date if I wasn't 100% confident that I could make that date.

I had an agent contact me about an R&R she'd requested, asking me how close I was to finishing. I was in the middle of a work-deadline crunch and thanked the agent for checking in with me, and that I would send the revision as soon as it was finished. I did not give her a date, because I knew I couldn't predict at that time when I would be finished and I did not want to break a promise.

When I get an offer from an agent, I will not accept that offer unless I am confident that I can trust that agent to keep her promises as much as I could trust my advisor. Because I don't want to get an email from my agent telling me she's going to send my manuscript out to publishers by date X, and then find out two months later that she hasn't done it yet because she's just so crazy-busy right now.

I worked with someone recently who overpromised on deliverables. She was absolutely brilliant at coming up with excuses for why she kept missing deadlines--deadlines that she came up with herself. I would never work with her again. She was waving red flags about herself right from Day 1. I know what to look for now. If I spotted that behavior in an agent, I wouldn't sign with that agent--not even if she was the only agent who offered.

mayqueen
05-06-2014, 10:29 PM
Sorry, but I agree with Quickbread. There's no pending offer. There's no deadline. Maybe what this agent is doing isn't ideal, but it isn't unprofessional and it isn't indicative of her working style with signed clients necessarily. It's only been six weeks since the initial request. I'd give it a full three months from the date of the initial request before I got frustrated.

Jillio, I also agree with GinJones. Start working on the R&R if you agree with the changes. Or work on something new. The dream agent may respond today or never.

Debbie V
05-06-2014, 10:44 PM
Jillo, work on the R & R and then send to another group of agents. No need to wait for this one. If you do get an offer, you can nudge her. Meanwhile, that R & R agent might become your favorite person in the world, or someone else might.

Putputt
05-06-2014, 11:00 PM
Jillo, work on the R & R and then send to another group of agents. No need to wait for this one. If you do get an offer, you can nudge her. Meanwhile, that R & R agent might become your favorite person in the world, or someone else might.

I agree. If you agree with the R&R, do it. Nudge her in a couple of months or when you have an offer. Good luck!

Nikweikel
05-06-2014, 11:49 PM
Going to have to go with the miniority opinion here and say move on.

As someone how has been around block a few times, I'll have to say this doesn't look promising. She promised she's get to you by Friday, then Friday turned to Monday, and Monday turned into nothing.

Busy doesn't excuse this sort of behavior. People say she needs to focus on her existing clients, but agents don't magically get their act together when you are a client. If anything it's worse to be blown off because you're stuck with them and putting your career on hold whether they have time for you or not.

Agents are like boyfriends. When they are crazy about you, they'll let you know it, just to make sure they don't lose you to someone. If they cannot see you right away, they will make concrete plans and keep them.

This current behavior screams "on the fence", and as a client, on the fence is a very uncomfortable place to be.

Project Deadlight
05-08-2014, 12:02 PM
I have to also agree with the minority here, hopefully making it a sensible majority. Agents are busy, yes. But so are querying writers and every other working person in the world. It's not cool for any party to ignore deadlines like this without at least a polite word to explain. Certainly if any writer came on this forum and told us they were ignoring a self-imposed deadline they'd given an agent we wouldn't be impressed.

I agree that you should move on, and if the agent comes back to you deal with that then. Good luck, sounds like you have a promising work on your hands. :)

brs18041
05-14-2014, 07:09 PM
Agent #1 is giving you some valuable information about herself. Heed it. She told you she would get back to you Friday. Then when Friday passed, she said Monday. Then she still didn't get back to you.

I 100% agree with this. One of the main reasons authors drop agents is because of poor communication, and I think this is a major warning sign. It's better to have no agent than a "bad" agent (and IMO the "dream" agents can be bad agents for clients they don't prioritize).

I'm confused that some people are saying there was no deadline. The deadline was Friday, and then Monday, because that's when the agent said she would let Jillio know her answer. It's OK to extend the deadline again if necessary, but she should have at least let Jillio know. It's unprofessional in any industry to leave someone hanging like that.

My agent is bad at communication, which has made this entire experience extremely frustrating and stressful. There were warning signs before signing with this agent. I kick myself every day for not choosing one of the other agents who offered me representation, and I blame myself because I saw the warning signs, but I made excuses for this agent in my head. Please don't make the same mistake I did.

Little Ming
05-14-2014, 09:25 PM
I agree with the majority and minority.

Majority - shit happens, "deadlines" sometimes get missed. I don't think I would write off this agent completely; you really don't know what's happening.

Minority - move on; as in, I wouldn't wait for any single agent to respond (unless they had an exclusive), "dream" or otherwise. There's no reason you can't query other agents while you wait for Agent #1. You should especially get to the R&R if you agree with that agent's suggestions. As others have pointed out, you can save a draft of the MS without the revisions.


This current behavior screams "on the fence", and as a client, on the fence is a very uncomfortable place to be. OP is not a client yet. Signed-clients should be an agent's top priority--which is why I'm willing to give this agent the benefit of a doubt right now (while also moving on to pursue other agents). If something more urgent happened with a signed-client, I would expect the agent to miss their "deadline" with a potential-client to fix that problem first.

werewillf
05-24-2014, 07:38 PM
I 100% agree with this. One of the main reasons authors drop agents is because of poor communication, and I think this is a major warning sign. It's better to have no agent than a "bad" agent (and IMO the "dream" agents can be bad agents for clients they don't prioritize).

I'm confused that some people are saying there was no deadline. The deadline was Friday, and then Monday, because that's when the agent said she would let Jillio know her answer. It's OK to extend the deadline again if necessary, but she should have at least let Jillio know. It's unprofessional in any industry to leave someone hanging like that.

My agent is bad at communication, which has made this entire experience extremely frustrating and stressful. There were warning signs before signing with this agent. I kick myself every day for not choosing one of the other agents who offered me representation, and I blame myself because I saw the warning signs, but I made excuses for this agent in my head. Please don't make the same mistake I did.

I totally agree with this. I just wouldn't want to work with someone who tells me they'll get back to me at a specific time and never replies. If the agent shows you that they operate like this, what makes you think they'll give your MS and later your book the time it needs and deserves?