Albeit a wee bit late…
And as promised I’m going to chat about the query process, but before I do, please bear with me. I should be careful what I ask for. I received my revisions a day early and they are significant, and I have until tomorrow to turn them in. My bad for turning a book in a wee bit late. But it’s all good. I nailed half of them yesterday and last night and will be working like a slave today and tonight to get them completed, so I apologize if the post is a little bare.
So, you send a query letter to your dream agent. You wait with baited breath for a request for a full. If it was an equery, in a perfect world you will receive the request for a full in a matter of minutes. If you snail mailed it, the prefect scenario would be a phone call (yeah, I know, hardly happens but we’re talking perfect world here).
In reality, you may get an email request for a partial or a full, but most likely an e.no thanks, yanno, the standard: this doesn’t fit with our current list at this time, or just a simple no thanks, or just as likely, you may get no response at all.
Same with a snail mail query. So? What’s a writer to do? Send a follow up query? Hey, Missy Agent, I sent you an equery six weeks ago, are you interested? Or Dear, Missy Agent, I mailed you a query letter seven months ago, did you get it? I sent one of those postcard things that says someone there received it. What’s up?
I’m going to tell you what’s up, and you’re not going to like it: They aren’t interested. There. Now what are you going to do? Get angry because the agent didn’t respond? I mean how dare they? How rude is that????? Hurmph! I wouldn’t do business with them now if they asked me too! Riiiight. Get over it, and move on. Yep, put your hurt feelings away and shrug it off.
Yanno why? Because it’s just business. And here’s another thing. If you ever wonder why agents generally don’t give small little snippets of why they don’t care for your work enough to request it instead of the form no thanks, it’s because people get pissed off if they don’t agree with the agent’s opinion (in a very subjective business!) and tell the agent so. Yes, it’s true. Happens all of the time, so the agent generally doesn’t bother. Why should they? To catch grief from a disgruntled writer? Who needs it?
Now some of you are still shaking your heads and insisting the agent respond. Okay, let’s do some math. Many agents are just them. No assistant or maybe a part time one. But let’s take a step back. An average agent gets 500 queries a week. It takes them less then 30 seconds to decide to read on. So 500 x 30 seconds at the very least equals 250 min of read time a week. Of those maybe there are 5 to 10 requests; those letters take time to write plus postage. Now, the agent has 495 query letters she has to say, no thanks, too, plus postage if there is no SASE. How do you think she’ll do that? A standard no thanks plus the postage or a detailed read on why not plus postage? I think if she gets around to sending out rejections she’ll do it when she isn’t reading her current author’s material and making suggestions, negotiating current author’s contracts, putting out fires for current clients, dealing with contracts that come in wrong, chasing advance and release checks, meticulously going over royalty statements, pouncing on the foreign rights sales bandwagon, following up on submissions she already has out there, putting out emotional writer fires, holding another author’s hand because she has just had a melt down, reading requested material and let’s not forget to mention the editor lunches, conferences and judging contests along with all of the other stuff I missed that an agent does. I am so sure she will have lots of time and energy to send rejection letters. Not.
Look, most of them try, some of them just don’t get it done in the sending-the-rejection-letter department. So what?
Frankly if I were an agent, I’d just state: “If I’m interested, you’ll hear from me.”
So, here it is in a nutshell. If you don’t hear from them, they’re not interested. Move on. It’s time to go to round two agent list. And do not query one agent at a time. Cast the net wide but cast it only on those agents you have researched. Doing your homework when an agent offers is not the time to start asking questions. Also, if you haven’t heard in say 4-6 weeks from the agent, cross them off as not interested. Hey, it happens. Now move on.
It’s really counter-productive to get all highfy over it. 🙂 Highfy (high-fee) new word. So what, you don’t hear from them this time, maybe your next project will get a different response. It’s really not a good idea to cut your nose off to spite yourself in this business.
Okay, so unleash the fury, convince me why it is so important for an agent to send a rejection letter.