Are agents taking forever to reply?

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Marian Perera

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Where I bristle a little is when people (editors as well as agents) request material and then answer via silence. That's a case where people feel like they're left dangling, and it's kind of rude, in my opinion.
I agree, and this has happened to me five or six times now.

I know some agents are concerned that if they reply with a rejection, writers will become harassing and abusive. But I prefer that such agents just don't request material from me at all. That would make matters easier for both them and me in the long run.
 

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I agree, and this has happened to me five or six times now.

I know some agents are concerned that if they reply with a rejection, writers will become harassing and abusive. But I prefer that such agents just don't request material from me at all. That would make matters easier for both them and me in the long run.

Some agencies will have a note on the site saying something like "If we don't respond within six weeks it's a no." That I appreciate; it gives me a firm endpoint. When a query vanishes into the ether (and in fairness I didn't hit a lot of that, but some), I assume they've got a similar policy, just unstated. Don't love it, but I've lived with it.

When an agency touts responses to every query but ghosts people? ...Hm. When they ghost actual MS requests? Nope, nope, off any list I may have for eternity. :)
 

Marian Perera

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With all queries I assume that no reply means no, even if the agency promises they will answer. Easier on me that way.

But when an agency requests fulls, I feel it's polite for them to reply, because now they're an active participant in the process rather than an uninvolved target of my unsolicited query. If they don't intend to reply at all to full requests unless it's to say yes, then perhaps they should make this clear in their submission guidelines (of course, it's possible that they do but I didn't notice). Because I really don't want to sign up with someone who might go completely silent on me out of concern that I'll become unprofessional if the manuscript requires editorial revisions or it doesn't sell.
 
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One agent who used to ghost on all fulls no longer does so (at least not at the moment) and I believe this change of heart was due to the outcry on this person's querytracker page.

It was good to see this person change their approach.

Ghosting full requests (any request) is so unprofessional. It is so unbelievably disrespectful to the writers. Unreal. I've seen it in other areas of life as well, and been similarly flabbergasted. These people, to me, look like absolute morons.

If you want me to take you seriously, at least act like a grown up.
 
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KingM

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I agree, and this has happened to me five or six times now.

The thing is, editors do this, too, maybe a quarter or so of them. They request, then you never hear from them again. I had an editor ghost me recently after asking my writer for an R&R, having several conversations with her via Zoom, etc. I submitted the revised manuscript in January, and she just never responded to my prods. Finally, in May, she said sorry, she was going to get right on it, and that was the last I heard from her.

I placed the manuscript with another publisher, so all was not lost. Still, it was baffling. She's a fairly important editor with a fairly important imprint, but I'm not going to submit there again. It's just too frustrating, and it was embarrassing for me when dealing with my writer, that I couldn't even get a simple yes or no.
 
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Woollybear

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The thing is, editors do this, too, maybe a quarter or so of them. They request, then you never hear from them again. I had an editor ghost me recently after asking my writer for an R&R, having several conversations with her via Zoom, etc. I submitted the revised manuscript in January, and she just never responded to my prods. Finally, in May, she said sorry, she was going to get right on it, and that was the last I heard from her.

I placed the manuscript with another publisher, so all was not lost. Still, it was baffling. She's a fairly important editor with a fairly important imprint, but I'm not going to submit there again. It's just too frustrating, and it was embarrassing for me when dealing with my writer, that I couldn't even get a simple yes or no.


Thank you, and for the youtube video, and if that is you, thank you for replying to queries!!! :)

Because it goes both ways, and respecting writers matters.
 

KingM

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I submit widely, so I'm not usually hung up on one particular editor, but in the case of a request for a revision and resubmittal, where the editor has given a lot of specific feedback, it' s accepted practice to give that editor an exclusive look. The flip side, of course, is that the editor knows she should respond in a timely manner.

I had a similar situation that took even longer to get a response, but the editor responded to all my pings to tell me she hadn't gotten to it yet, but would shortly, and then she bought the book in the end. My writer was tearing out her hair by the end, but it all worked out, thankfully.
 
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lizmonster

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I had a similar situation that took even longer to get a response, but the editor responded to all my pings to tell me she hadn't gotten to it yet, but would shortly, and then she bought the book in the end. My writer was tearing out her hair by the end, but it all worked out, thankfully.

Communication is huge. I can wait pretty much forever as long as people stay in touch.

I'm fine with publishing being slow. It's when it goes silent that I worry. :)
 
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