Yes, this is filled with whisky

Yes, this is filled with whisky

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Querying a second agent after no reply from first

Back in April, I queried an agent at a literary agency where guidelines ask you to requery (with a note to that effect) after one month. After a little over a month, I re-queried, but I never did get any response. 

The agency invites queries to other agents once one has rejected your MS, but they're also clear that they always respond to queries. I'd really like to query another agent at the same agency, but I'm not sure what to do. I don't particularly want to email that first agent yet again with another reminder, as it just feels silly and pushy, and I'm also not sure it would do any good. Should I query a second agent at that agency? And, if I do, do I mention the no-response? I've been ignoring the other agents at the agency until now because of the no-answer, but as I get further down my query list, I can't help wondering and wishing I hadn't emailed this agent to begin with...

You query the second agent and you don't mention the first. If she's not courteous enough to reply to the initial query or the follow up, then either she didn't get either email, or she's so behind she's not even looking at her email.  What this means for you is she doesn't count anymore.  It's not a no, nor is it a yes, it's more like a do-over.

I know there are agents who have hundreds of queries stacked up over many months.  That's not your problem.  If an agent can't get a handle on her inbox and her website says 30 days, you've fulfilled your part of the social contract.

Of course, if the agent you're querying is me, you might want to check Query Letter Diagnostics, cause I'm caught up through yesterday.


John "Ol' Chumbucket" Baur said...

There is no law against querying more than one agent at a time, even if they're at the same agency. It may be imprudent, it may annoy one or both of the agents. It may even be considered rude. But it is not actually illegal. There's no actual law – municipal, state or federal – against it. Yes, an agent needs time to wade through queries and give a fair evaluation. But your life is finite, you have only so much time, and sometimes it feels as if the deck is stacked against you. You've gotta do what you've gotta do.


Would this hold true if the agent asked that you send your submission (query & first pages only) as 'Requested Materials' and they had the same agency policy of re-query after a month?

Lance said...

Would you want the first agent that hasn't responded even if she did offer representation at this point?

Ilex said...

Some agencies are explicit on their submissions page that "A no from one is a no from all." But if they don't state that, I'd assume there's no problem with submitting to another agent at the same agency. I'd think you only need to mention Agent 1 if you actually hear from her/him after querying Agent 2.

Kari Lynn Dell said...

Did you get a confirmation that your query was received?

If not, go back in the archives on this blog and find the rant about all the things in your email that can cause it to get routed straight to the spam file. It's possible the agent isn't ever seeing your query.