Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Dead or fled, can I carry on?

I started querying a few weeks ago and today I was looking through Query Tracker to get a sense of agent response times. I found that one of the agents I queried had been removed from the agency website (and is presumably no longer with said agency).

I checked and my query email was not viewed (I track my email opens just in case I end up in spam).

With that in mind, should I still wait the eight weeks that agency suggests between querying agents or is it fair game to send to someone else within the agency? There are several other agents there that I think may be a fit. 

If the agent is gone, and no one read your email, you've got a blank slate.
You can query as though you had not queried before.


Joseph Snoe's comment on today's post raises a good point:
I'm guessing the original poster was wondering if someone else in the agency would review Dead or Fled agent's unopened email queries. I'm guessing the answer is no, they won't .Query someone else at the agency (after checking one more time the first agent truly is no longer there).


And he's right. We are all trying to keep our own query box under control; most of us don't ask to look at someone else's. We might look through the inbox for something like notice of an offer, or some other non-query kind of item, but the actual queries are pretty much discarded unread.

29 comments:

Kitty said...

Question for anyone: Can I check for email opens with Google mail? I can't find that option.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

It is probably better I have no clue how to check to see if an email has been opened. I had wondered about what to do when an agent disappears. My suspected the answer however. It was either do as our queen suggests or call the agency at 8:30 PM. Good to have clarification.

Slightly OT: I have observed many agents are closing to queries until next year. Is that normal at this time of year? And should I put off querying until February in order to wait for those agents (it is a good many I wish to query) to join back in the fray? I probably will wait until February irregardless but still.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Damn, I wish there was an edit feature for comments. I suspected. Not My suspected...ugh. I need coffee

Kathy Joyce said...

EM, when you're ready, query. Publishing takes so darn long anyway. I wouldn't make it longer by waiting. My two cents.

Colin Smith said...

What if you don't track email, so you don't know if your query's been seen? I would think it safe to assume no one else has seen it and query other agents in the agency. They should see you originally sent it to the departed agent (especially if you say so in the opening paragraph) and may not know who else has seen it. Better than calling to find out. Am I right? :)

Julie Weathers said...

Elise,

Some, probably quite a few shut down between Thanksgiving and New Years. It's best to see which ones are closing for sure before you hit send.

Amy Johnson said...

Elise: "It was either do as our queen suggests or call the agency at 8:30 PM." Wherever could you have gotten such an idea? Very funny. And that was pre-coffee--most impressive.

Julie Weathers said...

Elise,

I wouldn't wait until February. Just check the ones who are closed and hold off querying them. Many are still open. I noticed a few last year actually asking for queries as they were all caught up.

Colin Smith said...

Elise: Janet knows best (of course), but I don't think it hurts to query between Thanksgiving and New Year. Unless an agent says she is closed to queries, your query will just sit in an inbox unread until the New Year. There's always a chance the agent will use some holiday down time to catch up on queries, so it's not a bad thing to have yours waiting. I've seen in the past agents ask if writers mind getting rejections at Christmas, so I'm sure this happens.

Julie Weathers said...

Amy

"It was either do as our queen suggests or call the agency at 8:30 PM."

I've been thinking about that post and kind of cringing. I was on sick child babysitting duty yesterday so couldn't post.

I dreamt not long ago I was in NY for a conference. I was skinny! Praise the Lord, all decked out in my Wranglers, a nifty little jacket and my favorite Resistol. I had a very nice gift box of Wisconsin cheeses and Texas pecans in various flavors for Miss Janet, but I knew better than to call or come to her office. I was too cheap to hire a delivery service, so I decided to have lunch in the coffee shop in her office building and hire someone there to deliver it.

They described me to whoever took the package at New Leaf and New Leaf sent security to evict the stalker poste haste. They wouldn't even let me finish my sandwich!

Lord, yes, I have exciting dreams.

Kathy Joyce said...

Public Service Announcement:

KEYWORDS: Keep querying, don't take rejections to heart, publishing is subjective

Same story, two magazines.

Last week, magazine 1: Rejected. Comments from three people. "Does not work as a monologue, re-write in scenes." "Does not work in first person, rewrite in third." "Needs more background leading up to the murder."

This week, magazine 2: "Love it, shortlisted, we'll publish it, and pay you..."

Don't give up! Agents leave, agents stop taking queries, agents reject your work. You haven't found the right agent. That's all. Don't give up.

Janet Reid said...

Actually Miss Julie, I have a photo of you by the front door Cerberus and it says "if Miss Julie shows up, give her some sasparilla, gather the troops, and beg her to tell you some stories."

Julie Weathers said...

Miss Janet,

Ah, thank you for the first laugh of the day. Done and done. I am never short of stories.

Colin Smith said...

Julie/Janet: Actually, there's a nice conference room in suite 2201 you could use... :)

Craig F said...

The agent I created a furor about last week turns her listing on Query Tracker on and off. The month that she is open her listing there is up. When she is closed for queries it isn't. I have noticed other agents listing go dark when they are closed to queries too.

In the real world, not all that many big named agents read the full first round of queries. Those the assistant fairy godmother blesses with a hearty swipe of her magic wand get passed on. If your query passes muster it will get to someone there. It might not be who you want and their preferences might differ so just keep querying.

Best of luck to you.

Gayle said...

I appreciate all the comments about not waiting to query until after the holidays. Since I missed my self-imposed start querying deadline of Oct. 31 and have switched my focus to NaNo, I've been worried about the season and agencies closing, but it's a slow process anyway, so as long as they don't say they are closed, I should feel like I should move forward whenever I am ready.

Karen McCoy said...

Elise, I'll be hopping again into the query trenches soon too. I'm hoping to get a few in before NaNo ends. Craig is right--I think Query Tracker updates pretty often, and it's a pretty useful tool.

Good luck!

Kathy: Mucho congrats! Mayhap I'll send out a few stores too...see what lands...

Joseph Snoe said...

I'm guessing the original poster was wondering if someone else in the agency would review Dead or Fled agent's unopened email queries. I'm guessing the answer is no, they won.t Query someone else at the agency (after checking one more time the first agent truly is no longer there).

E.M., I read somewhere last week querying between now and New Year's is not as productive as querying in early January. Supposedly this is the catch up and complete and maybe even (dare we say) family and friends season. And that agents are more receptive in early January. I have no idea if that's good strategy, but it sounded good when I read it. I wouldn't wait until February. January is such a nice month.

Amy Johnson said...

Julie: That was a hilarious dream! And now I know what a Resistol is. I've learned several new words from your comments, and I can hardly wait to get my hands on Rain Crow.

Kathy: Wait, wait--the PSA example--did that really happen? If so, Yay! and Congratulations!

Karen McCoy said...

Ha. Stories. Not "stores." Oy.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Jeez, I wish I had clean slate. Mine is so snowy you'de think I sneezed chalk dust.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

KATHY, woop woop congrats.

Kathy Joyce said...

Amy, it did happen. I appreciate the kudos, but my point is the subjectivity of publishing. Maintain hope!

Cecilia Ortiz Luna said...

Congrats Kathy!

Colin Smith said...

YAY!! Congratulations, Kathy!!! Let's have the details when you're published so I can add it to the list of Reider's Published Works. :)

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

Kathy congratulations! Those are some of the sweetest words for a writer to hear, aren't they?

Ginger Mollymarilyn said...

@ Julie Weathers: Thank YOU for the first laugh of my day, a much needed one, having read another damn rejection email. I'm referring to your cringing at the 'call agent at 8:30 pm' remark, not having seen yesterday's posts, and taking it seriously. Still making me laugh. That kinda thing is my favourite sort of humour. And don't get me started on dreams. I probably have 3-5 a night on average. All kinds. In all of them, I believe it's real life...I don't know I'm only dreaming.

@ Kathy Joyce: Congratulations! Thanks for the inspiration. It can be frustrating at times, but giving up is not an option. And especially, thank you for showing your examples of how subjective the literary world can be.

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

I'm reading an excellent novel right now where Our Heroine is so overcome by grief for her dead parents the colour bleeds right out of her and she becomes invisible and forgotten.

Feels like that's happened to many of my queries.

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

Agent Kristin Nelson mentioned today in her newsletter that it might be worth waiting until after the holiday season to query. Agents are busy clearing up business for EOY, and your odds might be better if an agent isn't rushed in query-reading.