View Full Version : How long is the standard?

01-13-2007, 05:25 PM
I was wondering what you guys think is the standard time frame to wait before sending out a follow up letter? I've heard from weeks to months, so what do you think? Personally I think months is a little bit much.

01-13-2007, 05:58 PM
Depends on your "relationship" with the person you are querying and what you are following up on.

I would never send follow ups to anybody who hadn't expressed some level of interest in my work. The greater their level of interest the sooner I'd send a follow up.

I always like to confine follow ups to a simple email along the lines of, "Did my manuscript make it to you safely?"

01-13-2007, 11:33 PM
It's not at all unusual, I understand, for agents or publisher who have no interest in your work to never reply to a query, despite your SASE.

If you've sent a partial or full ms. at their request, a short-and-simple follow-up like John suggested, sent after a month, seems appropriate.

Once they have the ms. in hand and you know it, don't contact them for a lo-o-o-ong time. Tell yourself they're passing it around, taking it home, reading it to their friends and family...

Maryn, revealing common sense, not literal experience

01-14-2007, 03:20 PM
What about short stories? Do you think the same thing applies for them?

01-14-2007, 11:19 PM
I wouldn't follow up too soon on requested material. On a partial, I'd wait a couple of months. On a full, at least three months. (This is based on the average wait times I've seen listed on agents' sites, as well as my own experience with turnaround times.)

Of course, if you've agreed to an exclusive, you should set a shorter time frame and if you don't hear back by the deadline, send a follow-up letter right away. (Exclusives are good for the agent and bad for the writer, however.)

As for short stories, the pubs usually list their response times. If they haven't gotten back to you by then, sure, follow up. If there's no average response time listed . . . maybe six weeks? The short story market is a lot trickier because most pubs don't accept simultaneous submissions, unlike agents. So you're basically submitting on an exclusive basis. I'm getting ready to pull a story at the end of the month from a pub if I don't hear from them.

01-15-2007, 12:19 AM
okay thanks for the info.