Friday, March 2, 2007

Question for you

Okay, I am serious. I want your gut reponse to this question.

If I've had a query letter for months, should I bother to respond or do you just assume that you've been rejected already and get pissed off that I held on to it for so long and then rejected you?

When I do query catch-up, I am always surprised that some writers get back to me with hositlity because I took the time to reject them. It's a lot of work for me. Should I just toss the old queries?

79 comments:

Anonymous said...

If it's a query letter you've had for months, I'd be a tad annoyed. It's like rubbing salt if it's a no. I guarantee you, though, that anyone you say yes to will be thrilled to hear, if only for the opportunity to say they've already found an agent.
You might consider a form reject with your policy included, i.e., that you process queries on a quarterly basis, or some such thing. Then put that info on your website as well.
People can't be pissed if they know how you work in advance.

Lori Perkins said...

So if you got a rejection letter that said, "sorry for taking so long to get back to you, but we recieve 30,000 query letters a year and cannot process them any quicker," would you feel better?

whitemouse said...

Please, please, please do NOT start a policy of failing to respond to snail-mail queries. I consider it unprofessional when agents who take equeries have a policy of not responding to material they're not interested in. I would detest having that tendency infect the snail-query process also.

If I send a business letter to anyone, and they simply ignore it, it ticks me off. I think it's bad business and bad manners.

Please send the writer their form rejections and just ignore the twits who complain about it. They're angry not because you replied, but because you failed to give them what they wanted. They would be crabby no matter what you did, so don't bother worrying about those who think the world should revolve around them.

Also, form rejections are useful for income tax purposes. You can prove you're attempting to make a living as a writer.

Always reply to a business correspondence, would be my advice.

Anonymous said...

"Every" agent receives 30,000 letters a year!! Most query letters I've sent out have received responses within six weeks.

You've been overwhelmed in your relocation, new assistant, etc. Say that in your response. Something other than you get too many letters. Then you can start fresh when those have gone out.

Lori Perkins said...

Every agent does not get 30,000 queries. Only agents with good reputations get that many. Most get 12,000, which is why they can get back to authors so fast.

At least twice a year there are times when I slow down (Xmas holidays and summer vacation) and I can't imagine sending out an A.B.P. to every writer whose work came in during that time that these are slower times of the year. You expecations are not realistic.

But I now report that we'll get back to you in 3 months for queries in quidebooks, although that hasn't slowed submissions down one iota.

Anonymous said...

You are totally yanking our collective chains, aren't you?

You are just pushing the "Spaz, Writer, Spaz!" button to watch us twitch, right?

First the envelope thing. Then the part where you sent form rejections stating you were too busy to solicit new clients when you were, indeed, soliciting new clients. Then the indignity that somebody would take exeption to the fact that you weren't updating your information at agent info web sites.

...And now this. "Do I even bother to pretend to be courteous and send form rejection letters late?"


You must have a terrific client list to be able to publically give your prospects that kind of middle finger with a straight face.

You HAVE to be kidding?

(Please? Please tell me that you are kidding?)

Anonymous said...

Reply.

A slow reject -- even a very slow one -- stimulates less hard feelings than no response. If you want to squash even more potential for hard feelings from a slow response, add a couple words explaining why you're rejecting.

I wouldn't explain how hard you're working or how many queries you get a year. I wouldn't add the meant-to-be-nice boilerplate remarks about how the author shouldn't take this personally. No "we must be very selective and let me tell you why" type comments. If no personal reason is given, I'd prefer a "no thanks" or "not for me" or "list is full" or "didn't appeal" note scrawled on my own cover letter over any of that other stuff that's now quite meaningless to include in a rejection letter. We understand. Well, most of us. Okay, I do, and I'm all I can speak for, but there ya go.

Thanks for blogging, and if mine is one of the old queries (12/7 email on STRUCK), I'll brace myself for a rejection soon.

green ray said...

Thanks for asking, Lori. Yes, it's good to hear something eventually. And your idea above sounds like a good one. Right now, I'm more concerned with requested partials or fulls that don't get responses for months, if at all. I guess they get lost in the overwhelming amount of material, too. I certainly expect responses on those, but sometimes I don't get them.

Rhonda Stapleton said...

Hm. Some people do like having closure, so in that aspect, it's nice to get a response back...

I'm sorry to hear some authors have been hostile about it.

Katie said...

Send them, or you run the risk of getting the same query again, thereby raising your number of queries and lengthening the response time further.

I don't think it's a bad idea to have a "special" form letter for the really old ones, maybe with a short apology.

Jodi Meadows said...

I'd rather hear back.

Honestly, I assume someone is a non-responder after so many months, but it's always nice to be proven wrong. Non-responders irk me, because I never know if my query got there safely or if my "please send full manuscript now!" letter just got lost in the mail. ;)

So I'd rather know, even if it was a long time after.

Katherine E. Hazen said...

Send the letter. If we never hear back how many of us writers can't help but wonder, in the back of our heads, if maybe it got lost. On the to you and you never got the chance to accept us, on the way from you and we never got you acceptance/ejection, etc.

It's best to know, even if it angers a few people.

Jordan Summers said...

I'm trying this again. There was a technical issue a minute ago. :-/

I think no matter how long it takes you to get through the queries, sending a response is nice. That way the writer knows that their query wasn't lost.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely send the rejection. The worst thing about no response is that you’re never quite sure if the query was truly rejected or if it went astray in the mail, fell behind an assistant’s desk or for some other reason was never seen.

I’m sure there are obnoxious authors, but it’s harsh to make those who aren’t suffer for the sins of the unpleasant.

BTW, I submitted to your agency at one point long ago and received a request for a partial from an assistant. After several back and forth emails, I submitted the requested material. I never heard another word about it. Did the assistant not care for the material? Did the assistant lose the file? Did that assistant leave?

Inquiring minds want to know. (Although not enough to worry about it.)

Anonymous said...

If the idea is to achieve an agent-writer 'marriage', and if agents want an exclusive relationship, than waiting more than a month to send an answer - which in most cases is no - is not, well, nice.

Bottom line, it is a question of respect. If, as you say, your guidelines are pretty clear, let someone else check the queries.

A quick 'no' feels much better than no reply. At least, as a writer, you move on.

BernardL said...

If I don't hear from an agent after a couple months, I assume they weren't interested. If I then get a rejection letter from them, I don't get mad, I just file it with the others. :)

Robin L. said...

I would not be annoyed to get a reject after several months. I'd just be glad to get the response so I could check it off my list and not wonder if you never got it. I don't think you need to say anything more than "sorry, not right for me." Author's know, or should know, how hectic the agenting business is.

L.C.McCabe said...

Lori,

Send the rejection letter because closure is a good thing.

Knowing that you have decided to pass on something will help that writer know that what they submitted didn't just get lost on a desk and that it won't be suddenly found and their patience rewarded.

Several years ago I presented a paper at a prestigious conference and spoke with the assistant to an editor. She liked my subject and suggested I send my CV and book proposal. I agonized over exactly what to include in my proposal and I sent it with my cover letter on "September 10, 2001."

No lie, that was the date.

I never received a reply. No return of my SASE. Nothing.

I waited for months before contacting her. I called in January and left a voice mail message asking to confirm receipt of my proposal.

I waited a week and called again. I got voice mail again.

Then I sent an email.

I have never heard anything.

Not even a "well, if you sent it we sure can't find it so maybe you should send up another copy."

Today I use the confirmation of receipt via the internet, but that service wasn't available back then.

I know there's no possibility that this editor will ever belatedly respond because she's dead. That's as much closure as I'll ever need on this.

My suggestion is to send the rejection. If the writer gets pissy with you about it, then they aren't the kind of professional that you'd like to work with in the future.

Have a good weekend.

Linda

Anonymous said...

I want to know the answer no matter how long it takes unless I no longer care (as in someone reputable already offered to rep me), in which case I'll call and let the agent know.

Carrie said...

It drives me mad when agents don't respond. It leaves me hanging, and I'm a writer who needs the closure of a firm "no." Otherwise I'll spend all my time wondering if my query got lost, if you forgot it, if I should resend, etc.

Please don't let writers who are unprofessional and rude ruin it for those of us who are not!

Harry Connolly said...

For the life of me I can't imagine why someone would be upset that they received a rejection after a long wait. Personally, I want that rejection no matter how long it takes. I don't care if it's two years--I want it.

If you decided not to respond to any queries that don't interest you, that would be cool, too. As part of my day job, I turn away/throw out business proposals all the time.

As a writer, getting no response at all would be less desirable, but certainly not cause for an angry email. I think anyone who replies with an angry email in response to a rejection of any kind is being ridiculous, but that's me.

KingM said...

Don't worry about the jerks. Just continue to be professional, which means responding to queries, even if tardy.

Every agent does not get 30,000 queries. Only agents with good reputations get that many. Most get 12,000, which is why they can get back to authors so fast.

It doesn't matter if you get 30 in a year or 30,000, you've either got to process them at the same rate as they come in or your response time will get ever longer. It doesn't matter if your response time is six days or six months, you'll eventually need to find an equilibrium where they come in as fast as they go out. The problem is, you're probably just keeping your head above water with that volume; any disruption and you'll quickly get behind and then it's almost impossible to get caught up.

Having said all that, I think you're doing yourself a disservice if you're not a fast responder in comparison to other agencies. If an author sends a good novel to twenty agents, then the fastest ones will get the shot to sign that author. If you're one of the slower responders, the only writers left will be the ones none of the fast agents wanted to sign.

This sort of thing happened to me. I queried a list of agents and ended up sending requested fulls and choosing between several agents within two months from my first queries. Two months after that, I was still getting requests from some very good agents, but by then it was too late.

Ric said...

Lori,
If an agent hasn't responded within six months, I assume a) she is overwhlemed, b) some personal or professional crisis, c) the dog ate the sase, d) found the query the assistant who only lasted two weeks stuffed in the filing cabinet in the corner and, after perursal, decided not to bother sending it back.

Stuff happens. If I don't get a reply in the time noted, it isn't any big deal. Go ahead and toss 'em.

Kerry Allen said...

If I didn't get some kind of response, I might assume my query got lost in transit and send you the same query again, thereby increasing your volume further.

Some people are going to be overly sensitive and rude no matter what you do, so you might as well do what works best for you. Maybe if you hurt enough feelings, the submissions will slow down!

Amie Stuart said...

I think three months is good. If you can't respond in that time frame, trash it. I'd assume after that long it's a no anyway.

Xakara said...

Some might find a late coming rejection to be salt in a wound, but I think never hearing anything is a worse fate.

There's an assumption of rejection after a certain time, yes. That said, not knowing why you were rejected is the bane of every unpublished writer.

Was it not a good fit? Was the query weak? Were the sample pages horrific? Was it even read?

I think the answer is more important than when it comes. Where things might not hinge on one reply among the others coming in, every reply builds on what a writer is trying to achieve.

If nothing else, it doesn't leave a new writer in limbo wondering if the query even arrived. I'd rather know it was there and wasn't your thing, than to never know and be unsure whether to query you (or any agent) on future projects.

Writerious said...

I'd rather know for sure than to wonder, "Is this a rejection? Or did it get lost in the mail? Or lost at the agency/publisher?" (I've had that happen.) I appreciate an actual response no matter how tardy. At least I know someone physically picked up and looked at my submission.

If someone gets their knickers all in a twist because you've said "no" after several months, well, all I can say to them is, "Welcome to the real world. No one ever promised you were going to like every bit of it." Of course an agent wouldn't say that. But they might think it.

Gina Black said...

I would appreciate the closure of getting a response. I still have unanswered queries from several years ago, and that leaves me to wonder if my letters were ever received.

Colorado Writer said...

Personally, I like the closure. Please, please keep sending the form letter (e-jection or snail) for whatever the reason. Even "Not for me," is great. Writers invent all kinds of ridiculous scenarios about the "non-response." Did she even get it? Is she holding it and mulling it over? Is she on vaca? Did the partial or full go to a meeting? "No news is good news," is something I hold on to for dear life. For me, even a short, vague rejection breaks up the horrible waiting times.

Also, thank you for your blog.

kiwi said...

Gut response? Maybe, if new writers realized that securing an agent is only the beginning of the process and not the keys to the good life many seem to imagine, perhaps then, these questions might not be so important.

A little more education on the life after representation is offered might be worth the while. You know, how many represented works don't find a publishing contract; the reality of advances in todays marketplace,the demands on an author after the sale, and so on. Just a thought.

Barbara said...

I can only speak for myself, but I'd always rather hear the definite no. Otherwise, you spend months wondering, even if every better sense you have says you're probably rejected.

Harry Connolly said...

What I should have said in my previous comment was this: I think you should respond to all of them or none of them. Responding to some but not others would be crazy-making.

That's my 2 cents.

Michele Lee said...

All I ever expect from a market or an agent is a response, period. I do feel that they owe me a response. Not personalized, or on pretty copy paper, or such. But I do refuse to submit to places who have a policy of "if you don't hear from us in a week/three months assume you're rejected". One set of guidelines I read said two years. Two years! And they didn't allow sim. subs! I know it's different for you, since any wise writer queries multiple agents at once. But I really do try my best to present my most polished work, my most polished query. I expect my query to be read and I expect at least two letters in response. Especially if it's snail mail.

scrimp said...

If three months go by and I haven't received a response from an agent, I would have moved on, probably already queried the agents I researched, and started another novel. A partial or a full, not so much. I have pride in what I do and a life beyond my writing - otherwise I'd follow Hemingway to the great beyond.

happygem said...

I would skip responding to the query letters that you've had for months. Yes, it's rude but I'm sensing these are NO responses so they dislike you already and now you're just underlining it. In the future, I'd make it a policy to try and respond within a set time period. "White mouse" had a valid point about proof of attempting to obtain employment --had never thought of that...

December Quinn said...

I agree you should send the reply. Maybe a new form that apologizes for the delay might ease some tempers.

Yes, we assume it's a no after that long (heck, I assume it's a no after a few weeks) but it's nice to be able to officially close the chapter.

Anonymous said...

I would definitely prefer the rejection letter

BuffySquirrel said...

I would like to hear just so I could draw a line under that submission, knowing for sure that it did arrive. But on the other hand, I can understand that you don't want to receive abusive responses from idiots.

Maybe set up an unmonitored email address to send out form rejections so you don't have to read the replies! That won't deter the person who's so determined to be abusive that they seek out your "real" addy, but it will protect you from any hasty clicking of Reply.

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to count the numbers of queries I've sent, how many came back prompty, how many languished, and how many never got back to me at all but I can't. Since I write short stories, novellas, novels, and articles for magazines, believe me, I've queried extensively.
The worst: I queried, got a request for a full after one year, and a year later got a rejection slip.
You might ask why I was waiting - well, I wasn't. I was busy writing at the time and selling other things. What I did learn after that was to make multiple submissions.
I honestly never get pissed. This is a really stressful business, why make it worse?
If you feel bad about falling behind with submissions, I guess just a shory "Sorry for the delay, I'm a bit behind in submissions right now" would probably be fine.

Quite honestly I think that authors who get mad at rejections because the response was delayed would probably get mad no matter what the time frame.

Jennifer

Linda said...

Oh, please respond! I still feel warmly toward an agent who responded to my query nine months later, with a very nicely worded pass. On the other hand, I am reluctant to query for my new project to two agents who never responded at all to my last effort. I want to know yes or no, not . . . nothing. Ending an author's misery is a kindness, you see. And I think a response encourages an author to try again when she has something new, and possibly much better.

Anonymous said...

Please send the rejection. It's frustrating to receive a late rejection, but it's far more frustrating to receive nothing at all.

If I were the rejected party, I'd prefer that you not mention the 30,000 queries/year figure in your form rejection. Any writer who's done her research and spent a little time in the query trenches knows that good agents receive mountains of queries.

Only agents with good reputations get that many. Most get 12,000, which is why they can get back to authors so fast.

To be fair, plenty of agents with excellent reputations reject in a timely fashion.

You expecations are not realistic.

As a writer, I expect a response to professional correspondence. It doesn't have to get here in a week, but it should get here. Is that unrealistic?

Bernita said...

They sent an SASE, right?

Anonymous said...

Closure is good. A form rejection (email or snail mail) is better than no reply. If I don't get any kind of response, I cross that agent off my list for the next project.

Deanna said...

I do feel a little odd about snail mail queries that never get a response. We wonder if we mega-messed up in our research.

So yes, if you received an SASE, send a generic--"I apologize for the delay, but thanks for sending this, not for me" type note.

I really do put a lot of hope into each query and it's hard for it to be ignored, even though I know agents get "Blasted" by email query services and totally inappropriate requests.

Erin said...

Lori, you have had one of my queries since 20 August. Please, please reply. I'm a professional -- I can handle a 'no'.

The Home Office said...

I've been on the receiving end of this, with a response never coming. It's irritating, but it happens. Questions of professional etiquette aside, I think common courtesy should prevail. Send the rejection, but take fifteen seconds and hand write a brief apology for the delay. No one's perfect, but much of the hostility sensed by agents can be attributed to authors made to feel as though they are inconveniences who make tedious what might otherwise be a cool job.

Steve Axelrod said...

I say -- forget about it. If I query someone and hear nothing for three months, I write the agent off and send more queries out.
If you finally send some acknowledgement, the hapless writer is going to assume, for a moment at least, that it's a positive sign. "The agent finally wrote me back!"
Probably there's a spouse there to say, "But the envelope is addressed in your handwriting," but still ... it's a gratuitous sharpening of the inevitable disappointment. Better to do nothing. Silence speaks volumes.

Anonymous said...

I agree that you should definitely send the rejections, whenever you get around to them. If it's been a few months, I've probably assumed you've rejected me, but there's always lingering doubt. Closure is good.

Anonymous said...

PLEASE respond to queries--even if it's been several months. I think it's rude when agents don't bother to reply. (And I don't mean a personal note on embossed stationery. I was satisfied with a scribbled, "No, thanks" on my original letter.)

Anonymous said...

Well, if your doc is running two hours behind schedule should he tell you at the end of the day "Sorry I didn't get to you, but I ran out of time" or squeeze you in? I'd rather get a late note than none at all. I gather you don't ignore a good query - even if it takes you months to get to it. Why disrespect a writer whose query doesn't appeal to you simply because you're swamped? If you're that overwhelmed you need a new system, an assistant, two assistants, a herd of assistants. Your lack of being able to get to your work shouldn't become the writer's problem.

Anonymous said...

I think I hold the record. Seven years and counting on a full, requested manuscript.

The agent is still in business, still doing very well, and I never heard back.

Since that time, I've published two books.

I'm looking forward to meeting her in person some day.

JC Madden said...

I'd send the reply anyhow.

As aspiring authors, we're told that publishing time runs much slower than real time, so I imagine a lot of people would still be waiting around to see the result, even if it is 3 or 4 months down the line.

Kim said...

I'm one of those who'd think my query got lost in the mail and ended up God-knows-where. At least with a form letter, I'd know that didn't happen. I'm with the closure people. A no's a no, no matter how much time has passed, but if nothing else, it is professional.

Anonymous said...

Please send the letter, even if it's late.

Pat Logan said...

Please respond to your mail. Not replying to business correspondence (including email) is unprofessional, in my view. Sometimes it's unavoidable (the mail got lost), but if you at all can reply, do it.

An apology for late replies is nice, too.

Someone who replies with hostility to basic business practice is not someone you want as a client anyway.

Anonymous said...

Lori Perkins said...
"Every agent does not get 30,000 queries. Only agents with good reputations get that many. Most get 12,000, which is why they can get back to authors so fast."

Thing is you may be wonderful at what you do. Writers don't want to waste their time, effort and money if a query is going to fall into the deep hole automatically. It doesn't matter if you receive 3000 or 30,000. The point is all agents are busy, and why send to someone you don't stand a chance with to start with?

If you can't accomodate all the queries, turn them off. Lots of agents put "not accepting queries at this time" at least on their blog, or agentquery, or website. Publications are out of date before they're published, but you can keep your status updated. When you want to resume, say so.

It's really not that hard.

Yahzi said...

Yes, you should respond, even late. Especially if they sent a SASE.

I particularly hate that people don't respond to e-queries, especially since it's so simple.

But my favorite is the agency that says they don't respond to e-queries they aren't interested in... and then says, if you don't hear from them, you should send your query again (in case it got lost)!

Greta Christina said...

I *hate* getting queries and submissions unanswered. I never know exactly how long I should wait until I decide I've been rejected by default and should move on. And I just think it's inconsiderate to leave writers hanging.

If nothing else, put something on your Website/agent listings saying, "If you haven't heard back from me in X amount of time, you should probably move on."

DanStrohschein said...

Personally, if I haven't heard from an editor or agent after a few months, I assume that the work wasn't right for them and I move on. If I publish the work, or get contracted by an agent for it, I send a letter to the individuals that haven't responded to say that the work is no longer available.

kitty said...

Respond -- and take your lumps like the rest of us when we screw up. To not respond is bad manners. Maybe you need a special form letter for such times.

I apologize for not responding sooner, but I've been swamped. yadda yadda yadda Or simple something to that effect.

Sariah S. Wilson said...

Please do send a rejection letter. I agree with so many of the other above posts - it helps with taxes to get the rejection, it lets the author know for certain rather than worry over whether it got lost, it gives you some closure.

I think those people who are rude and obnoxious to you would be just as rude and obnoxious even if you responded two or three weeks later (only then they'd be saying, "Did you even read it?" because the response would be so fast).

Demented M said...

If you don't respond you forfeit the right to tell writers 'this is a business and it's important to be professional.'

Agents who don't respond to my queries, go on to my 'never query again' list. Fortunately, I have enough agents who do respond that I don't have to worry about the ones who don't.

We all get behind, the delay is the lesser sin. Respond.

M

Anonymous said...

I much prefer a late rejection to no answer. I agree with anon 11:13am that when I hear nothing I'm liable to cross that agent off my list for the future.

Late rejections do not upset me. It's all part of the business. There are many "no's" on the way to the "yeses" and I appreciate each one, so please do send them along!

RMS

Scott Marlowe said...

If it were me waiting to hear back on a submission, I would want to receive the letter regardless of timing.

LindaBudz said...

I think most people like closure.

I am sorry that you have to deal with idiots going hostile on you, but I hope you don't decide to adopt a policy that punishes the rest of your queriers.

Then the idiots will have won. (Yes, I know I'm being dramatic.)

Demon Hunter said...

Lori, I would rather hear something as well. There have been 2 agents of 10 who have still not responded to me. I assume it's a rejection, but it's common courtesy to respond, especially since I sent my SASE.

Lori Perkins said...

Erin:

If you snail mailed it August 20, we should have gotten to it by now, so re-query via email.

I just had someone who snail mailed in July, who I sent an email rejection to, who changed his email address, so he never got it. He emailed me, and I rememebered rejecting the query.

Anonymous said...

I think you should always respond.
I've gotten back replies for projects a whole year later, with a short apology (sorry we held this so long, etc etc) and I personally never replied in hostility, but at least I know they got it. Some of them asked to please send something else again in the future and they promised not to be so slow. I see nothing wrong with being honest. It reflects well on you.

If they reply with hostility, at least you know you didn't want to rep them.

Anonymous said...

Out of the 70 agents I queried, 27 never responded (2 snail mail, 25 email.) So, if I were still looking for representation, I would probably be re-querying all 27 of them, since they may not have gotten the query to begin with.

If you're overwhelmed, why not shut off submissions until you catch up? Heck, I've never understood why agents don't just set up a system where they only accept queries for half the year (maybe every other month). You could delete/toss unread anything that arrived outside the bounds of the system you set up.

Ryan Field said...

I'm not even reading the other comments to answer this because I thinks it's one of those subjective things.

Yes, of course, please respond no matter how long it takes because it shows you actually took the time to read the query. People move on; they forget about queries in time...but it's nice to get a response even if it's a year later and doesn't matter much.

Erin said...

Thanks, Lori -- I'll do that.

Harridan said...

Lori,

Def send the letters when you can. Closure is good for a writer, though it stinks to have some of those receiving the letters get nasty.

However, after a stint as an editor at a small house (acquiring and then editing the books I purchased) I've come to understand that due to the internet, many many aspiring authors have been treating the industry like fast food.

"If you don't serve me instantly, I'll take my money down the road."

While that is fine, what some fail to see is that their money is the book, the voice, the special something...

...and even the following of submission guidelines.

Too many think they are "the bomb" and will tell you so in no uncertain terms as they totally ignore any rules set down.

There IS a reason certain agents and houses will not take email queries and subs. It takes seconds to paste in your info in an email, but a bit more effort to print something out and hit the post office. Hence, when you take email subs and queries, you become inundated with "the bomb" people.

Jaded? Yes, in a way. I'm a published author who had the opportunity to see the other side of the fence. Trust me, the grass is no greener there.

Harridan

Faith said...

As both an author and an editor, I always appreciate when an agent or editor sends me the yes or no letter in my SASE or in email. That way, I'm not wondering if A)my email was lost in syberspace or deleted or landed in a spam folder and B) I can mark off that agent or market and move on to the next.

I always take at least 20 seconds to fire off an email of "sorry not for me" so at least the writer can move on to the next editor.

Faith said...

I just read one of the last comments here about 27 queries that never recieved a response. I have more of those than I care to list too. Some are three years old. I've even e'd or snailed polite status checks and have heard nothing. It is frustrating. Time is something precious to everyone, but a little consideration goes a long, long way.

acd said...

Oh my gosh, please respond! There's no closure until the rejection letter is in my file! Information on agents is hard to get and it's easy to get mired in contradictory or old information. If an agent doesn't respond, it could mean a rejection, or that the letter was lost, or that the agent is dead, or moved, or changed names, or doesn't take that genre anymore, or went blind and can't read. ANYTHING. "No" is an okay thing to hear!

Erin said...

Any response - even a rejectection - would be appreciated. I fear the unknown, and thus I'm not a cheery lass when I read that some agencies have a "will only respond if interested" policy.

Anonymous said...

Send the rejection. Please. I won't be getting one, since the stuff I write isn't in your line of interest.

That said, I don't send agent queries one at a time. I send tailored queries to agents who might rep the kind of work I do. I don't really care whether they don't like simultaneous submissions or not. This works for me, the writer, so I do it. Chances are if I send ten queries out, I'm never gonna hear from five of 'em anyway, so why put a crimp in the process for THEIR convenience?

Sound hard nosed? Fine. I'm in the business-side of this relationship, too.

Anonymous said...

Better to provide some kind of closure for the sender, in my view, even if late. As someone else pointed out, it is arguably unprofessional not to respond to business correspondence at all. Below is a redacted version of a rejection I just got 4 months after querying that I think did a good job of appropriately acknowledging the delay.
(My instinct is that they also made the note a little nicer due to the delay, too.)


"On behalf of [AGENT], thank you for your query regarding [TITLE OF MANUSCRIPT] and apologies for the delayed response. We're sorry
to report it's not quite right for [AGENT]'s list, but rest assured
this is a completely subjective response.

We wish you the best of luck with the project."

DreamWriter said...

I'd rather have a 'no' than silence. At least it gives the author closure. Yes, some will have written it off but others will still be sitting there.