Over my couple of years querying (had one agent I left because she never sent out my book as promised until I nudged and then never passed along the editor response until I nudged--four months apart) I have seen agent behavior deteriorating. I have had probably six agents recently who never responded to a full request, even to polite follow-up nudges. This used to seem shocking, now it's rapidly becoming standard.
And now--this agent offered rep, we talked, I accepted (no contract yet) and she has blown off two follow-up calls. I mean saying are you available tomorrow afternoon and then not calling or sending a note to cancel. This leaves me in a very uncomfortable spot. I am a consultant who always follows up with clients. I understand busy, also being a workaholic who has multiple projects at one time. If I'm in the middle of something, I send a note to let someone know.
My instinct is to pull the plug but not having a full understanding of "agent" protocol, wonder if I am alarmist and maybe she just has an extremely casual approach. I mean, if my daughter did that I wouldn't think she didn't like me or something or was a flake. But this woman supposedly wants me as a client. Not a good impression. I feel as important to her as sidewalk debris. Not a nice feeling!!
Five years ago you would have gotten a good rant out of me about unresponsive agents and how disrespectful not answering emails etc is.
Now, not so much.
Here's the thing it's helpful for authors to remember, and it was one of the hardest things for me to learn AND figure out how to accommodate: no matter what I plan to do today, something will come up that knocks that plan into a cocked hat.
It can be that a description of a client's book on Amazon reveals too much of the plot. I need to get in touch with the editor, make sure they get new copy written and put into the system and most important, that I have a calender item that says to follow up in a week or ten days.
I sometimes think my entire job is writing notes on my date book about things to follow up on.
It can be the arrival of a batch of royalty statements, all of which need to be scrutinized. I know I'll be writing at least one or two emails for every five pages of royalty statement I receive. Some of my clients have 35 page royalty statements. And that's just for ONE of their series.
And right now it can be clients calling with questions on their 1099 tax forms. Those questions go to the head of the line, trumping even royalty statements.
You wrote that you have "multiple projects at one time" which means you're busy I'm sure. Do you have 36 projects going not just at one time, but all the time? That's my workload. And that's just authors. Most authors have multiple books, and multiple deals for each book (translation, audio, film.) That puts my number of multiple projects just north of 100. And that doesn't count queries, answering questions on the blog or what most other agents try to do: have a life.
Some people are better at balancing this kind of deluge than others. You might have queried an agent who isn't. It doesn't mean she's not a good agent, or will be scattered in her business dealings. It just means that when her inbox tops 100, she's not writing the kinds of "hey, I haven't forgotten you emails" that would ease your mind.
Sure, we all wish she would. But, before you pull the plug on an agent you think is a good fit, give her some time to get caught up. Continued polite nudging is OK. Don't read more into it than she's got a lot going on.
And one of the main reasons people (not just agents) don't reply to nudging emails: it generates MORE email. On the days I send status reports to clients or queriers I know my inbox will flood. If you're trying to get your head above water, that's daunting.
Right now, you should be querying since you don't have a contract and the agent hasn't said why that is. You query until you have an agent, and right now, you don't.