Your recent blog posts about manuscript requests and R&R’s spurred me into action to respond to a longstanding response to requested materials. Here is the timeline of our correspondence:
I queried with sample pages.
A week later she sent a very complimentary response enthusiastically requesting the full. I responded that day.
She sent an immediate response, thank you, she had it and would get back to me shortly.
Three months later I sent a nudge and asked if she wanted to see a version incorporating some revisions.
A month later she sent a reply, she was very sorry she hadn’t got to this, but still wanted to read it, please send the revision and she would get back soon. I responded that day.
Three months later I sent a nudge, only to learn that she had switched agencies. Ack!
Three months after that I sent a nudge.
A few days after that I had a happenstance twitter DM conversation with one of her authors. The author mentioned that she had asked her agent about my MS, and that the agent had been very excited to read it, but had been very busy (selling this authors book for one, and changing agencies.) The author suggested I contact the agent again after Christmas.
I sent an after Christmas nudge. The agent responded after a month. Yes the transition to the new agency had been chaotic. She still wanted to read my MS, but in the transition had lost access to the version I sent. Could I resend? I replied that day. (Also perhaps this was some indication that the agency shift had not been an entirely happy affair?)
Another three months, another nudge.
A month later, since I hadn’t heard back, I sent another nudge.
All in all this has been going on for almost a year now.
Her author loves her, and they have three book deals in two years. The agent is making good deals with major publishers, which I see as a great sign. She expressed a lot of enthusiasm on several occasions, thus I feel a sense of obligation to not just give up. But I also don’t want to be rude.
Q1 Should I continue to send nudges? If so, how often and how many before I give up?
Q2 I have maintained a twitter connection to her author and we have DM’d on several occasions. Should I discuss this with her via DM? If so, what should I say or ask?
Q3 The agent and I are mutual Twitter followers, so I could/should I break the rule and DM the agent on the assumption that my inquiries are getting lost in the junk-mail folder, and that she would want to know that she had lost track? I tried this one other time with an agent and it actually lead to a great conversation.
My hamster wheel is spinning full speed ahead, but the bearings are getting a little wobbly.
Q1: Yes, about every 90 days or so. Don't give up.
Q2: NO. Involving a client in this is the fastest way I can think of to get an instant pass and not because of your novel but because you overstepped a pretty clear line.
Your mail isn't getting lost in her junk mail folder. People have the weirdest idea that when their emails aren't answered it's cause we didn't see it. That's just not true. It's cause we have 400+ OTHER emails pending too.
I spent a good chunk of this past weekend winnowing my incoming email down to under 100 pending. Down from 400+. Yes, a lot of those replies started with "sorry for the delay." And NONE of those were "hey I read your manuscript." Those are still pending.
You have NO idea what else is going on in her office. If she's selling things, that's her highest priority. Moving agencies slows everything down too, even when the move is a very good thing. (And no, losing access to the email address at her former agency is par for the course, not an indication of bad feeling.)
I will also tell you this: right now a lot of agents and editors are having a hard time reading incoming work. I don't know why that is. I myself have a backlog of 40+ requested manuscripts.
I know waiting is just the pits, but right now, that's your job. Work on the next project. KEEP QUERYING. Get off the rodent wheel, and remember that YOUR priorities are not yet hers.
But, yes, this does seem like a long time, even with the special circumstances you describe. I looked at my incoming fulls and I'm current on reading/responding/requesting revisions through 2016. So, that means the longest I've had something is six months.
It's entirely fair to make some assessments about whether you want to work with someone based on how they begin the process. She may be slow to read, but is she slow to reply? That's the metric I'd use to assess. We're all behind on our reading. Not responding at all to email is a bigger problem (and yes, I'm guilty of that as well, so I'm not pointing fingers.)