View Full Version : Help! How Long Should I Wait?

08-11-2014, 05:17 AM
I came in 6th place in a new-adult contest in April. My prize was supposed to be a three-chapter critique from an agent (one of the judges). I also received some positive feedback and even a few requests from other agent judges.

So naturally, I was excited. But it's been over three months, and I haven't received my critique prize. I realize agents are busy, but I have no idea what is normal in this situation. Because the prize was a critique (and because that particular agent had shown some interest), I thought it was best to wait to see what she said before I sent my work to the other agents. I don't want to send out a bunch of queries and then get this amazing critique that opens my mind to things I could change.

Now, I'm not sure what to do. I have already politely nudged the agent who currently has my work with a follow-up email (after two months). She said she would get to it when she could, and she didn't really give me any indicators as to whether or not she was interested. I feel terrible because what if one of the other interested agents might want my book? I'd hate to sit here waiting years for a critique that will never come...I know I won the prize and I deserve what I won, but I can't force her to look at my work.

Basically, I'm wondering what other authors would do in this situation. It could be totally normal for something like this to take a year--I really have no clue! I've never entered a contest before, and prior to that, I had only done about 10 queries. All rejections of course.

Should I just start sending queries and pages to other agents now? Should I send another follow-up email even though the first didn't really get me anywhere? Should I just wait longer? Any other advice?

I appreciate it! :)

08-11-2014, 05:31 AM
That sucks. How awkward.

Publishing time IS slow, but this seems frustratingly so.

Have you sent out ANY other queries? It might not hurt to send a few, even without the critique. You could get an idea of whether your query letter is working, and who knows, maybe you can just proceed without the benefit of the critique!

I don't know if I'd follow up again with the agent. But if nothing EVER comes of this, it might be worth a mention to whomever organized the contest, just to let them know their prizes aren't working too well...

08-11-2014, 06:49 AM
What do you mean by "request" from other agents? Interest? If so, query them right away. No use in waiting on another agent who's taking a while--especially if there's no talk of representation. If an agent bites and offers rep, contact the others who haven't replied back yet telling them you have been offered rep and they have a week or two to reply back--tell the one you're waiting on something like, "I'd love to receive your critique soon, as I have an offer of representation and your comments might be of good help."

Regardless, I'd toss the idea of the critique away for now. In another three months, forget about it and contact the event organizer about the problem--not like it'll solve anything, but as notification. I don't know if there's any standards for agents offering critique as prizes, but three chapters isn't much and if they can't do good on their promises... why did they bother making them?

Old Hack
08-11-2014, 10:41 AM
I'd let the event organiser know about the delay, and assume you're not going to hear back from the critiquing agent anytime soon.

If your query didn't get any bites last time you sent it out, either it needs work or you've not sent it to the right agents. Put it up in Query Letter Hell, and brace yourself.

08-11-2014, 10:41 AM
I got requests for chapters and/or the full novel from a few different agents. I didn't send anything yet, because after a bunch of prior rejections, I wanted to make use of the critique I'd won and send the requesting agents the best version of my novel I possibly could. I asked the advice of the person who ran the contest, and they said that was the standard thing to do in this sort of situation.

Now, I'm wondering if I've made a mistake. I hope those agents haven't forgotten they were interested in me. I'll start looking over my query and sending it out again soon.

08-11-2014, 06:34 PM
The agents will not have forgotten. Just remind them where they saw your work and why they requested when you send them what they requested. And then get it out there to them.

Good luck!

08-11-2014, 09:29 PM
Thank you guys. This query has already been through query letter hell and resulted in a partial request from one agent. I feel it's my ms that's the problem, which is why I wanted the critique. *sigh* ill keep going, it's just frustrating..

Old Hack
08-11-2014, 09:41 PM
If you only got one request from your query letter, it might yet need more work.

And you could put your opening up in SYW and see if anyone spots anything.

Debbie V
08-11-2014, 10:53 PM
I think your original question is one to ask the contest organizers. They are responsible for the prizes in their contest. Explain the situation to them and see if they can't at least get you a time frame.

08-12-2014, 01:00 AM
If you only got one request from your query letter, it might yet need more work.

And you could put your opening up in SYW and see if anyone spots anything.

I've already reworked the beginning and the query many times since I got that rejection. But I'm sure it does need more work. It always does! :D

I will write the organizers of the contest if I don't hear anything from her in a few more months. I feel a bit weird "telling on her" though. :Shrug:

08-12-2014, 04:49 AM
andiwrite, I remember that contest and which agent you won the critique from. She's notoriously slow in responding to queries, to the point I wondered how quickly you'd get your critique. I'm disappointed for you but, sadly, not surprised. If you haven't already, check out her page on QueryTracker and the comments to get a feel for how she's responding to others.

If I were you, I would:

1. Talk with the contest organizers, see what they suggest.

2. Depending on what they say, either wait for them to spur on the agent within a reasonable predetermined timeframe (i.e. 1-2 weeks) OR, if they don't offer to do that, send the ms to those who requested during the contest. They liked what they saw of your first 250 words, so that's something.

3. Send out another small batch of queries and wait and see how they do.

I expect you'll get the critique eventually if you just wait, but it could be 3-6 more months, or longer. Which is ridiculous. Any writer deserves better.

08-12-2014, 07:35 AM
RaggedEdge, thanks so much for that helpful information. At least if she's just naturally slow to respond, it doesn't have to do with her hating my book.

I took all of your advice and sent a polite email to the contest organizers. I'm not sure if they can really do anything, but I guess it will be helpful for them to know how long it takes for the prizes to come through.