What is the appropriate timing and wording to use when following up with an agent or editor? I know a little more about the former, from what I’ve seen online, but I haven’t been able to find out much about following up directly with editors/publishers, if you’re currently not represented. How long do you give an editor/agent if they don’t specify a timeframe. Is it 3 months? More or less? And what do you say without sounding pushy or desperate? Would be curious to know if they’re similar!
A lot of agent websites will tell you their timeline.
Mine is 30 days on queries, 90 days on full.
I miss that deadline a LOT.
I have reconciled myself to nudging emails from writers even though I hate to get them cause it means I've made a writer anxious, without actually being there to enjoy it. Wasted torture.
In fact, in my email acknowledging receipt of a requested full, I specifically tell them it's ok to nudge or check in as their nerves require. Waiting sucks.
That said, not all agents are as awesome as I am, and they might not tell you their timeline, or they might tweet something rude like "don't nudge me you writerly types, I'll get to you when I get to you."
Now, that kind of stance tells you something about the agent of course, but it's also not some sort of legal restriction.
My view is you nudge after a businesslike 30 days on queries, and 90-120 days on fulls.
Now, what to say.
Well, "get off your asterisk and read, you slaggard" is of course what I prefer to see, but again, not all agents are as awesome as I am.
I recently received a GREAT nudge email from a writer.
I hope January is treating you well. I've managed to keep half of my resolution (Muay Thai) but have yet to kick in the dietary side, which I've postponed in the name of family stress (I'm back up to Maine again in the morning to help out-maddening things, families). I rationalize that my ability to rationalize the delay in diet is a sign of free will, ahem. I managed to close out 2017 with a fit of writing and finish a draft of a novel and have half of another written, so that side of life is productive.
Oh, another plus - I'll admit I sank into a cynical funk prior to the recent Women's March (I attended last year's march in DC) and was blown away by the tremendous turn out in cities across the country this year. It was deeply satisfying to feel cynicism collapse in the face of such a massive display.
I'm looking forward to your thoughts on (REQUESTED FULL TITLE) when it claws its way to the top of the TBR pile. Oh - if you haven't read Victor LaValle's The Changeling yet, grab a copy. It's spectacular and my favorite read of 2017.
Here's what made it great: it was interesting, illuminating AND also about something other than his novel. He didn't ask me if I'd read it yet. He didn't remind me how long I'd had the ms (120 days).
And he mentioned a writer I admire a lot: Victor LaValle.
In other words, this wasn't so much a nudge as a friendly note, and of course, I responded with alacrity, both about Victor LaValle and about the requested full.
The entire email exchange did a very important thing: it showed me this author is professional, interesting and subtle. All of those are very good things.
So, I'm not going to give you specific wording here, but more of a guideline: be pleasant, be interesting, be about more than the nudge. Easy peasy, right?
That's for agents.
Double everything for editors. As an unagented writer, you're generally in the lowest priority strata, and editors have incoming submissions that would make you weep.