Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Night at the Question Emporium-lagniappe

Janet, do all agents read a query on the first day? And is the tagline that they'll get back to authors in 3-4 months just a line?


No they don't. I've been told I'm one of the fastest readers, and as you can see from the blogroll on the right I'm only caught up through 7/14 as of today.

I know several VERY good agents who take a week or more to read queries. And lots more who take a LOT longer.

BUT the industry standard on query response is not 3-4 months. It's 30 days.  And given my colleagues loathsome practice of no response means no (insert rant here), 30 days is about the outside limit to wait for a reply.


HOWEVER you should BE READY in case the agent reads your query the exact minute you send it.  I've had this happen several times.  Some writers are certain that a quick reply means I didn't read the query; others aren't ready to send the manuscript when I've requested it.  If you're making a list of best practices: BE READY to send what an agent wants BEFORE you send the query is a good one to list.

7 comments:

Josin L. McQuein said...

Janet's right - she's lightning fast (though I think Nathan Bransford had her beat when he was agenting. I got a rejection from him in like 12 minutes.). The longest time for a response for me was 7 months, which is 4 months after I'd written the agent off as a "no response means no."

NotaWarriorPrincess said...

She also means it about being ready and the turnaraound THERE is lightning fast too: Query sent at about midnight my time; response from Janet requesting a full by 8:00 her time; I had to teach a class, so I sent her the full at about 11:00 am my time; we talked on the phone at 6 that night. She had read my book. THE WHOLE THING.

This is not only to say she is a superstar (cause, duh), but to say that if I had queried her with an underripe ms, I'd have been VERY embarrassed by her request.

pjcasselman said...

Janet is the ONLY agent who ever sent me a personalized rejection. That was when I was a noob and sending the one's that started: My fiction novel is 53,345 pages and is for kids in their teens, etc. Janet patted me on the head. When I reread it today, I can hear the "You poor helpless soul" in her voice. Because of her personalized rejection, I've been a fan of both her and her authors.

Janet Reid said...

What a lovely thing to say. Of course you must never say it again or people will think I'm nice instead of what I am: mean and sharkly.

Pamala Knight said...

Thanks for the extra beignet, cher. I'm so glad that we have you here to keep us from stepping on our hems with the good advice--be ready.

Michael Seese said...

I'm glad to see this answer. Because I've seen SEVERAL writer blogs (by now-published authors) who said words to the effect of, "I sent out three queries with partials and got requests for fulls within 24 hours."

So I honestly started to wonder if, as was asked, agents give them a glance on the first day. If it's amazing, they jump. If it's ... eh ... they need time to think.

GN F said...

The fastest response I have had was emailing someone on a Saturday and having a partial request come back on the Sunday.

ERM...I thought I was ready until I actually received that response. Then I developed fingers of clay and sat on my MS for three days.

After sending it out, I figured I was good to query again (it was not on an exclusive basis).

A few rejections came in (including one from our lovely blog host - I was chum for her bucket) and bang! Another request for a partial. I may have had fingers of clay before; now I had jelly. One week later *hangs head in shame* I've sent it off.

Maybe I should have just not bothered :(