View Full Version : Querying an incredibly well-respected agent who treated me 'badly' as

10-12-2015, 08:01 PM
[deleted for reasons explained below. Really grateful to all of you for your help - reps for everyone! - know this isn't usually how it's done in AW but as I put a lot of personal information here and feel kind of weird about leaving it here.]

10-12-2015, 08:29 PM
Fuck those agents. Nope. There are plenty of others who DO get back to people. Move on.

(Note: There are always excuses to be made. They were having a bad week/month/year. They were ill. They were totally backed up because of deaths in the family, or whatever. They are terrible with queriers BUT they are AMAZING with actual clients! OK, OK. But the fact remains, they did not treat your time and efforts as if they were at all valuable. And while this might have just been a bad patch for either of them - it also might be a regular part of the way they do business. How can you know? And why should you have to subject yourself to this, either way? Plenty of other agents in the sea, etc.)

10-12-2015, 08:36 PM
I don't know if this helps, but I probably wouldn't requery them--for fear, as you said, that our relationship as a client/agent might show signs of the same attitude. Even if they respond quickly because this time the book hooks them immediately and they know they can sell it for a million bucks, how could I ever be sure that if they didn't like my next book I wouldn't be waiting for a year to hear from them again?

However, if I did query them again, because of their rockstar status, I would probably save them for last.

10-12-2015, 08:43 PM
There's more than enough available angst in our corner of the world. Why ladle old angst on new?

10-12-2015, 09:12 PM
I've been through the same thing with one or two agents. With the first agent, we had a great, friendly relationship on social media, the emails were kind and responsive, the nudges were polite. But when she repeatedly said, "Oh, so sorry - can you send it again?" and I didn't hear from her for the fourth time, I gave up. It took two years for me to give up. I still like her, we still have lovely exchanges on Twitter, but I'll never query her again.

The second agent (with a different MS) has had my full for a few months, but never responded to the obligatory 3-month nudge, and has dropped off the radar on Twitter. I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt for a while (she might have something going on in her personal life), but I agree it is very disheartening when hope turns into crickets.

I wouldn't call it, "treating the author badly," but rather a set of circumstances that leave the author feeling like a bag of poo. So sorry this is happening to you, but it seems to be an epidemic these days.

With advanced technology and savvy computer skills becoming the norm, it shouldn't be so difficult to arrange incoming emails to go into a dedicated folder. If I were an agent requesting fulls, I would create a rule that steers emails from the author into a separate folder so they don't get lost in the sea of queries.

If I had so many fulls that I can't read them after six months have passed, I would close to queries for a while to reduce the temptation to request more fulls, and thus leave the author in limbo for a year. Just sayin'.

Authors are humans, but agents are humans, too. I imagine they would hate to miss out on a diamond because they haven't been sifting their fingers through the pebbles.

10-12-2015, 09:31 PM
Unfortunately, that's just the way some people are. They get busy doing things for clients and blow off the rest of us. It has happened to me. Don't let it get you down. Just move on to the next one on your list. You'll be glad you did. I was.

10-12-2015, 09:48 PM
Definitely move on. As Jennifer said, there are plenty of others you can contact. I've had requests for fulls and then no response afterwards too. I'd nudge and still no response. That's when you have to cut your losses and move on. I know it's difficult to even get the full request, but as Thedrellum said, it could be a sign that's how they operate even after you sign with them. I wouldn't want an agent that completely ignores me, even if they are a rockstar agent. It wouldn't be worth it.

10-12-2015, 10:05 PM
Going to add my voice to the 'don't re-query, move on' chorus. Life gets in the way, and if I don't nudge then I shoulder a portion of the blame (I used to be nervous about nudging looking 'rude' and never do it -- idiot rookie mistake). But if I nudge politely and get no response on a full, then I don't query that agent again.

It stings to get radio silence on a full, and that emotional limbo is awful to go through. I don't want an agent that will place so little value on my time.

Plus, is an agent is unable to send a rejection on a full, it makes me doubt their ability to be the bearer of bad news later down the line.

10-12-2015, 10:23 PM
So sorry that happened to you. As others have said, put them on the list for your next rounds of querying, but put them as a last resort.

I've heard of more than a few well-respected agents who will request, but never even bother to read unless and until they're informed of an offer of rep by another agent. THAT, to me, is... I'm not sure of the word I'm looking for, but it's very unfair to the authors who are waiting to hear something one way or another.

10-12-2015, 10:49 PM
I've heard of more than a few well-respected agents who will request, but never even bother to read unless and until they're informed of an offer of rep by another agent. THAT, to me, is... I'm not sure of the word I'm looking for, but it's very unfair to the authors who are waiting to hear something one way or another.
Oh wow. A brand new way to be tortured!
I'd never heard of that before, but I can so easily believe it sometimes happens. Ouch.

10-12-2015, 10:52 PM
Oh wow. A brand new way to be tortured!
I'd never heard of that before, but I can so easily believe it sometimes happens. Ouch.

I'm sure it's anecdotal. I can't imagine anyone calling themselves out for doing something like that. I certainly wouldn't admit to it!

Aggy B.
10-12-2015, 11:09 PM
I think some agents don't know how to handle giving bad news. I had an R&R from an agent who went from super-excited about my MS to shredding the revised version. (Including stuff she hadn't mentioned in her notes, but apparently didn't like and had wanted changed.) I do believe she meant to be helpful in providing detailed notes as to why she was rejecting it, but she was actually quite brutal to the point that it was only my sheer stubbornness that kept me from walking away from writing completely.

I have a feeling that some agents get really excited by the opening of a MS, then less excited with the end and they don't know how to tell an author that "Yes, I want to talk to you about this," turned into "I'm sorry this needs more work than I have time for." And I'm sure some of them feel they have no obligation to querying authors so when things start happening for existing clients everything else goes by the wayside. (Doesn't mean they shouldn't respond, but I have seen hints of that in the way folks talk about certain agents - especially when you compare those who are repped by said agent with those who were just querying.)

That being said, don't query anyone you have a bad feeling about. Whether it's just doubts about whether they'll be responsive or feeling like they are actually rude or treat their clients poorly. It's not worth the hassle.

10-13-2015, 12:23 AM
Fuck those agents. Nope. There are plenty of others who DO get back to people. Move on.

::slow clap:: Best reply ever. :)

10-13-2015, 06:50 AM
That totally sucks, Ink Goddess. I agree with everyone else. Consider yourself forewarned and lucky. What if one of those two agents offered to rep you and then pulled the same disappearing act? That would be a thousand times worse. The biggest rockstar agent is going to be the one(s) super stoked about your manuscript and with a great strategy and contacts for selling it.

10-13-2015, 07:03 AM
Honestly, those seem like red flags about what it'd be like to work with them as a client. I know a full request is not the same as a client MS, but it just seems rude to never respond to somebody's nudges, even if they just sent a form rejection. I agree with everybody else who says to move on. There are plenty of fish in the sea, and plenty of non-"rockstar" agents with smaller client lists who can get your books out to the same editors and also have time for you.

Lady MacBeth
10-13-2015, 07:05 AM
It's happened to me too. Chin up. Move on. There are other agents.:)

10-13-2015, 07:48 AM
I think it's best to move on. I saw red flags with a "big agent" and moved forward with her anyway. Turns out one should "listen" to those warnings. It may be worse being treated badly by your actual agent. My scars are fading, but they're there and they're very real.

Look at it is a blessing in disguise. :)

10-13-2015, 07:30 PM
Maybe I'm a little different. I understand the reasoning behind not querying them again, but I think I wouldn't discount them completely, but would put them at the 'end of the list.' Maybe after querying another 100-150 agents with no offers, I'd give them another shot. To a certain extent, this business really is a numbers game, and I wouldn't want tie one of my hands behind my back unless I felt very strongly about not wanting to work with a specific agent.

Of course, I'm probably a little biased since I'm unagented, and though I've queried novels in the past, most of my submission experience is from sending out to literary journals, where you have to be very, VERY persistent to have a chance to get published, since their acceptance rates are...well...like literary agents' :-)

10-13-2015, 07:39 PM
If they reputable, I'd query them and if you're offered rep by another agent I would contact them immediately about it. You didn't have a truly bad experience, just an unpleasant one. And talking to them directly can help clear up misunderstandings. You don't have anything to lose by doing this, and more you might gain.

10-13-2015, 09:13 PM
I decided to try querying a new manuscript to two agents who hadn't responded to fulls after several email exchanges, etc. They didn't even respond to the query. I'm not saying that will happen to you if you query this person again in the future, but I think that past behavior is generally a good predictor of future behavior.

10-13-2015, 10:52 PM
Meh, plenty of fish in the sea. Honestly, if you don't like the way they dealt with you to this point, trying to work with them further would be a waste of time. Put their names on the "don't bother" list and move on to others who might actually treat you in the way you want.

10-14-2015, 12:40 AM
If they really are the best out there, do not stop querying them with new material. What can it possibly hurt, other than your feelings?

When you start taking things personally in this business, you'd better already be a bestselling writer, and even then it's risky. These two agents are probably very nice people, and probably had good intentions when they responded to your nudges. But life doesn't always work out.

You never had to wait on these two agents. You could have continued querying other agents all along. If you did this, then what's the big deal?

In a real way, this is not a complicated business. If you send agents or editors something they love, something that makes them see dollar signs, be it a query or a full, you'll be treated like royalty. If you send agents or editors something they don't like, be it a query or a full, there's an excellent chance you'll be ignored. So what?

It's not about the agent, it's not about the editor, and it's not about you. They don't even know you, and you don't know them. It's not even about your talent as a writer. It's about one query, or one partial, or one full you sent to one person. Or two people, or ten people. The number doesn't matter.

Politeness, courtesy, following up on what they say, are all great things, but it isn't about any of these things, either.

It all boils down to you didn't blow their socks off. You didn't make them see dollar signs. When you get ignored, move on. But when you have something that's right for those agents, or those editors, query them. If you send either something that makes them see dollar signs, they'll be all over you.

After all, isn't sending them something like this your job? And isn't finding something like this their job?

That's what it's all about. If you do your job, they will do their job. Doing their job is probably why you were ignored. They're spending sixty hours a week doing their jobs from the writers who did their jobs.

10-14-2015, 03:52 AM
[deleted for reason explained below]

10-14-2015, 05:01 AM
Hey, guys, sorry, I've thought about it and decided I don't really want this on the Internet, y'know? Thanks for all your help. I know this is frowned upon in AW circles but as it's kind of a sensitive subject, I'm going to delete my personal posts. I'm really grateful for your help here, guys, always. <3

10-14-2015, 05:16 AM
Oh gosh, there's never a point in the whole experience when you are sure you're getting the attention you need, y'know?

Even signed, you see the queriers taking up time that you feel you deserve, etc etc...