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View Full Version : How much longer should I expect to wait, and can I check in?



flowerburgers
04-30-2018, 11:06 PM
A month ago today, I sent a full manuscript to an agent I've been in communication with for a few years. At this point, is it acceptable to check in and ask when I should expect her verdict? I poked around the internet and found varying answers about timelines...and I don't want to annoy her by asking too soon, but I'm going nuts!

Marissa D
04-30-2018, 11:15 PM
I think you need may need resign yourself to going nuts a little longer. I wouldn't even think of checking in till after the two-month mark.

flowerburgers
04-30-2018, 11:17 PM
Oh no! That's a long time! Well, thanks for letting me know before my rampant impulsivity had a chance to take over.

Old Hack
04-30-2018, 11:45 PM
I'd leave it three months, but then I'm used to publishing timelines.

Carrie in PA
05-01-2018, 01:44 AM
I would also say 3 months on a full ms.

BenPanced
05-01-2018, 05:57 AM
Meanwhile, distract yourself and start working on your next project! :whip:

Treehouseman
05-02-2018, 05:51 PM
Three months is the bare minimum. Check out Query tracker comments on the agent in question if you want to drive yourself spare (you may need a membership to access the full details of reply times, etc)

One caution I might mention since it's become more prevalent in the industry the last few years, there is a rash of agents asking for a full and asking you to get back to them if you have an offer on the table. But.... they'll not read the manuscript UNTIL you have another agent offering. I can understand the logic (if it is a book that is beloved by more than one person, it is likely to find a publisher too), but it is annoying for the queryers waiting 12 months plus for a reply on their full.

Don't wait around for a reply, keep querying.

Old Hack
05-02-2018, 10:07 PM
One caution I might mention since it's become more prevalent in the industry the last few years, there is a rash of agents asking for a full and asking you to get back to them if you have an offer on the table. But.... they'll not read the manuscript UNTIL you have another agent offering.

If you extrapolate that suggestion, no agents would ever read any fulls. They'd all be too busy waiting for someone to offer before they started.

I don't think agents purposely wait until there's an offer to read the fulls they request. It's just that they're so busy that sometimes they don't get started on those fulls for a while, and when they hear there's an offer they have to race to catch up.

novicewriter
05-02-2018, 10:41 PM
...One caution I might mention since it's become more prevalent in the industry the last few years, there is a rash of agents asking for a full and asking you to get back to them if you have an offer on the table. But.... they'll not read the manuscript UNTIL you have another agent offering. I can understand the logic (if it is a book that is beloved by more than one person, it is likely to find a publisher too), but it is annoying for the queryers waiting 12 months plus for a reply on their full...

That sounds risky for an agent to wait to read the full; an author might choose the first agent who expressed interest in their work to represent them.

Marissa D
05-02-2018, 11:00 PM
That sounds risky for an agent to wait to read the full; an author might choose the first agent who expressed interest in their work to represent them.

The protocol is for authors who have an offer of representation to contact the other agents who've requested fulls or partials and let them know, so they can decide if they want to offer as well. Agents making offers know this, and will usually give the author they're offering rep to a couple of weeks to make a decision.

novicewriter
05-02-2018, 11:25 PM
The protocol is for authors who have an offer of representation to contact the other agents who've requested fulls or partials and let them know, so they can decide if they want to offer as well. Agents making offers know this, and will usually give the author they're offering rep to a couple of weeks to make a decision.

:) Yes. I'm aware of this. It's just that Old Hack and I were responding to Treehousman's reply about agents supposedly not reading full manuscripts, purposely, until receiving word from an author than another agent is interested.

Putputt
05-03-2018, 06:01 AM
If you extrapolate that suggestion, no agents would ever read any fulls. They'd all be too busy waiting for someone to offer before they started.

I don't think agents purposely wait until there's an offer to read the fulls they request. It's just that they're so busy that sometimes they don't get started on those fulls for a while, and when they hear there's an offer they have to race to catch up.

I would like to think that agents are all hungry to make deals, but time and again, I’ve heard from agents as well as writers about agents who...aren’t. Because of the way publishing has operated, at least in NYC, with all the unpaid internships etc, the only people who can afford to be agents in NYC are, well, wealthy ones. I know of at least two agents, one from personal experience, who have barely made any sales in the past five to ten years, and yet they can still afford to live in NYC.

So I’m guessing just as with any other industry, publishing will have its hard workers as well as its duds. Not every agent is hungry. Not every agent is passionate about agenting. Some treat agenting almost as a hobby. And yeah, with the ones who can afford to lay back and take it easy, I can see them waiting for the MS to get an offer before reading. If they lose the MS, meh, they’re not going to starve. I think they’re in the minority, but they’re there.

Earthling
05-03-2018, 11:56 AM
I'll chime in with another suggestion of three months. Sorry!

If it makes you feel any better, the first agent to finish my full took almost exactly a month. She offered rep, so things moved fast after that. It doesn't always *take* three months, it's just that that's when it's acceptable to nudge.

screenscope
05-03-2018, 01:15 PM
Unless agents mention how long to wait, I contact them after between six weeks and two months to let them know I am still alive and ask if they have any further interest.

blacbird
05-04-2018, 05:34 AM
Eighteen months. That has happened to me.

caw

screenscope
05-04-2018, 09:38 AM
Eighteen months. That has happened to me.

caw

Just over a year after my novel was published, I got an email from an agent saying, 'thank you for your submission, but unfortunately it's not for us.' I found the submission details on an old USB and I had submitted to them two and a half years earlier.

flowerburgers
05-04-2018, 09:49 PM
Thanks for these answers, everyone! I'll offer some further context to see if this changes things...first, I'll note that the agent reached out to me, not the other way around, and I have been communicating with her for two and a half years. She has read everything I've published in that time and liked the work. Second, I think she knows that she is getting an exclusive look. Is it permissible for me to query other agents in the meantime? She never asked explicitly for an exclusive look, but I've implied that I'm giving her one.

According to QueryTracker, she has taken more than a month for only five of the submissions reported...hmm...I hope she gets back to me soon!

Putputt
05-05-2018, 08:06 PM
Oh! I had no idea this was an exclusive! In that case, I would give a nudge after one month. That’s just me though. I’m way too impatient to wait any longer on an exclusive.