Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Nagging the lagging

An agent has had my full for almost a year now. I nudged a few months ago and she didn't reply. Should I assume it's a no? She indicated that she always responds so I'm slightly confused (although I completely understand that under the current circumstances she might not have had the time).

I've since revised the manuscript more and started querying again. I've queried three agents and all three of them have requested the full MS. Should I nudge the first agent from last year again, or wait to see if I get an offer of representation?

(I should point out that I think the first agent from last year would be a great fit)

Is it me?

It sure could have been up till July when I made a concerted effort to read and respond to all my requested fulls.

My requests lingered here for quite some time, some I'm sure closing in on a year.

The specifics of why aren't important. My why is different than other agents, but we're all dealing with the pandemic (I literally could not read a thing for three months, maybe four).

You realize that (excellent) and aren't waving your arms and shouting about lazy ass agents (very good.)

You've done exactly the right thing: move ahead.
Don't burn any bridges with ultimatum emails (which you didn't--again, good)

Query onward.
When you get an offer, let the first agent know.
(Don't consider it a pass until you've signed with someone else.)

When you get an offer, let the first (and all other agents who have requested the full) agent know. The question then is how much time do you give them to read. For years it was about five days, particularly if you had weekend days in the five.

Now though, as someone just said to me, all the days are alike, and all of them have limited reading time.  I'd suggest at least a week, and ten days if you can.

What you say to the offering agent: I have fulls out with several other agents. I'd like to give them some notice that I've gotten an offer. Will ten days be ok?

If the offering agent grumbles (and I know agents who insist on fewer than five days) drop it to a week.

Honestly right now, if someone emails with notice of an offer and has to respond in only a few days I'm more likely to pass than not.


AJ Blythe said...

The slow grind of publishing. OP, you seem to be incredibly sensible, so I am sure nothing Janet has said is a surprise. I hope you get an offer from one of them. Good luck!

KMK said...

Just from my own (pre-pandemic) experience in the trenches: I had fulls out on three different projects when I got the offer for what became my debut. A few people never responded at all to the formal notice of offer...and one Name Agent sent me a snippy note more than a month later telling me she didn't think she could sell what I wrote. So when, not if, the offer comes, don't be surprised if a few people don't jump to reply.

MA Hudson said...

Yeah, I couldn't concentrate on anything for a few months there, except making apple crumble.
OP, sounds like you're onto a winner with this latest edit of your MS. So exciting. Good luck on reeling in big fish!

Katja said...

Wow, wow, OP, that is amazing - three agents, three fulls requested. Congratulations!!!

I am so glad to read all this. Not because I am querying but because of the reminder how things are at the moment: strange.

I had several phone calls to be interviewed with a national paper, and a photoshoot at the end of June.
The journalist told me it takes 2 weeks for articles to come out after they've been with the editor.
I've been 'dying' here... still no article in the paper which could be so important for my book. *whine, whine*

But: all those pandemic-related topics will probably be the reason for the delay.
I've emailed Journalist several times and asked for news, but now I've decided to just let it go. Move ahead, okay. Search for other journalists as well. Don't burn bridges by sending more emails.

Thanks for this post.

KMK said...

Two things: First, with an apology for leaving this out the first time CONGRATZ OP!!! -- the signs are very, very GOOD! Second, to Katja from a working journalist, newsrooms are crazy right now and IT IS NOT YOU. That said. your story may just pop up one day, because all media operations save features for relatively slow days...and you'll get more attention then!

NLiu said...

I am impressed with your patience, OP. I shall aspire to be more like you. I am currently feeling annoyed an agent who "always replies within 6 weeks" hasn't replied and it's been 10. (And no, it's not Janet!)

Katja, I think we know who to blame for the excess of news right now. *side-eyes North America* *side-eyes Europe* *bonus side-eyes everyone else for good measure*

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

Congratulations on the full requests...!

Brenda said...

Good luck, OP, and congratulations on the requests.

Katja said...

KMK, oh. My. Freaking. Goodness, I canNOT thank you enough for your comment!!! Because I started believing that they had dropped my story completely.

So they are actually holding on to it and for a good reason?!?! I. Am. So. Relieved!

I did think that my story would be interesting, to be honest (cos how many people in this world have Emotional Contamination OCD and have been running away from their own parents because they feel they make them dirty...), and the journalist did pounce on my initial contact within 3 hours. She insisted on a professional photoshoot, not just my own pics I could offer.

Thank you, thank you, KMK. So I might just wake up one day and my story pops up. Yay.

Yes, Nicola, lots of news headlines in this country at least...

KDJames said...

You recently revised an entire ms? Then you queried three agents and got three requests for a full? That is amazingly impressive, congratulations!! (and holy guacamole, do I ever feel inadequate by comparison) Care to share your tricks for concentrating/being creative in these times? Please keep us posted when you get/accept an offer of rep!

I'm with Janet on giving people more time than "usual." I'm not querying, but I know just in general these days when someone is late responding or has fallen off the radar, my first thought isn't that they're a slacker or that they're ghosting me. It's that they or a loved one might be in the ICU on a ventilator. Or worse.

Strange times indeed.

Maybe I shouldn't say this, because it sounds like a complaint/criticism and I don't mean it that way at all: I'm so happy to see a post about publishing again. Not that I didn't enjoy and appreciate the pet posts, because I really did. They were delightful. It's just . . . I don't know, this feels hopeful. Like maybe some of the things that went all sideways and upside down last spring are starting to right themselves.

Beth Carpenter said...

Congratulations, OP! Three full requests! Yay!

Nom de plume said...

Love that 100% request rate on the revision, OP! I was in your same shoes for most of this year. I had a number of fulls out for ages. When I got my offer, I sent emails just like Janet instructs in her answer. Some agents responded, others didn’t. Fingers crossed you get an offer soon!

Karen McCoy said...

Congrats, OP! Colin do you think this post is treasure chest worthy? Janet's advice is very sound here and I want to save it for future reference...

Katja said...

Yes, Karen McCoy, I thought the same: in case I ever query again, hopefully I will remember all those details.

KDJames, your last paragraph is fine, in my opinion. I feel just the same. :)

Kae Ridwyn said...

Wow- congratulations, OP! I'm so very happy for you :)
NLiu, your '*bonus side-eyes everyone else for good measure*' made me laugh!
And thank you, Janet, for this post. It's good to have a reminder of what to do if if IF I'm ever in a similar situation...

April Mack said...

KDJames I'm happy to see Janet is back to posting about publishing, too. I was happy for her to get her much needed break, but I've missed these.

Gigi said...

OP: And don't be afraid to ask for more time if you need it! I was on vacation when my first offer came in and I asked if I could have three weeks to make my decision (because trying to do it while fast-traveling with friends felt overwhelming). The original offering agent was very cool about it, which made me like her even more, and I ultimately signed with her, even though I got several other offers.