Full Requests

Submission protocol, query etiquette, and strategies that work
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arielswan
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Full Requests

Post by arielswan » December 31st, 2010, 3:17 pm

How long is too long to hear back from an agent after they have requests a manuscript. I am finding it hard at the four month mark to think anything but it was lost. I did nudge to see if in fact it had arrived - but no response. I will keep waiting of course - but is there a point when one can just assume they are not going to get back to you?
Last edited by arielswan on January 21st, 2011, 1:47 pm, edited 3 times in total.

lachrymal
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Re: Requests for Fulls and MONTHS of silence

Post by lachrymal » January 1st, 2011, 3:03 pm

Arielswan,
Yes, it's difficult to wait and the process is slow. Two, even four months is not that long to have a full or partial ms, especially during the holiday season. I ended up getting an offer from an agency that had had my ms for 5 months--they hadn't even started reading it when I got another offer, and that was the only thing that sped them along.

What you're doing right now is good--if you're worried the writing isn't there yet, you shouldn't be querying until you feel like it is. You could certainly post excerpts here or at Absolute Write or other forums to get additional feedback on portions of your work. And you should also be writing other things, because let's face it, sometimes the first book isn't the one that gets you an agent. That doesn't mean you're not a good writer or that it will never happen; it just means that, for some of us (most of us), the process does take awhile.

Keep in mind that even once you get an agent, you also have the submission process to go through--which means: more waiting! Waiting is one of the hardest parts of this whole game, but best learn to cope adaptively with it now. Don't despair--there are tons of success stories out there that involve an incredible amount of perserverance. If the writer had given up early, he or she never would have found success.

Best of luck!

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wilderness
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Re: Requests for Fulls and MONTHS of silence

Post by wilderness » January 2nd, 2011, 3:49 am

4 full requests out of 32 queries is quite good. I wouldn't worry that your writing is not up to snuff -- you wouldn't have made it past the partial stage if that were the case. Also, 4 months is not that long for a full. One of my full requests took nearly a year before I received a response. Every agent is different in terms of response times.

Also, I'm not quite sure what you mean by being afraid to "waste more queries" -- I think you might as well continue to query this book. You aren't hurting your chances on a future book if that's what you mean. You can query the same agents for a later project. Based on your stats, I'd say that the writing & interest is there, and you are only looking for the right agent. This biz is slow, be patient! Good luck!

lachrymal
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Re: Requests for Fulls and MONTHS of silence

Post by lachrymal » January 2nd, 2011, 9:32 am

I agree that 6 requests out of 32 is pretty decent. Quite good, in fact. And I agree with Wilderness that sometimes you have to let it ride and just wait for that one agent to fall in love with your work. However, when I queried, I think I DID waste some queries. I sent out too many too early, and then I ended up doing some important revisions based on agent feedback and realized I'd already lost my chance with a bunch of agents.

There's no way to gauge this process perfectly. Basically, you can't be afraid of rejection. When you're certain your book is as close to perfect as you can make it, then send out those queries in batches and see if you get feedback. Notice if your requests are based on query only or query plus pages. See if any of those partials get upgraded to fulls (many agents just request the full these days to save time, but that's really no different than a partial request because most of the time they don't read the whole thing). Take your time. Query in batches. When you get feedback that you agree with (as with your pacing issue), make your revisions accordingly. Don't read too much into long turnaround times (another example: I had a partial upgraded to a full after over 4 months of silence--the agent was just backlogged). Don't read too much into individual rejections, either. Because it's entirely possible that you WILL find that one agent who falls in love. That is absolutely what happened for me, and I think it happens for many people. I hope it happens to you!

arielswan
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Re: Requests for Fulls and MONTHS of silence

Post by arielswan » January 2nd, 2011, 11:36 am

Thanks guys. The query only request is an interesting thought. I hadn't really paid much attention to that yet. Going back to my spread sheet I see that all but 1 of the Full requests came from Query + pages (10 - 30).

The partials I am not sure because they were both from the first round and were snail mail queries - I was not keeping track then of what I sent to each agent. I do now though.

In looking at sending another small batch - I may focus on ones that do ask for pages - I am noticing many seem to only ask for query lately. Can I send a few pages even if it doesn't exactly specify query + pages one way or another?

lachrymal
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Re: Requests for Fulls and MONTHS of silence

Post by lachrymal » January 2nd, 2011, 12:32 pm

The convention is that, even if an agent asks for query only, it's OK to send the first 5 pages along with it. HOWEVER, I would research each agent specifically, because most say that's all right, but a few specifically say they don't like when someone doesn't follow their specific instructions for query only.

It's great if you're getting requests from query plus pages! Best of luck!

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wilderness
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Re: Requests for Fulls and MONTHS of silence

Post by wilderness » January 2nd, 2011, 11:28 pm

Oh yeah, I'm totally for querying in batches. It's a very good idea to get some feedback -- but fulls take a long time. In my experience, I had more partial requests first and then I worked on the feedback from that since the response times are faster. Also, I advise you to take a look at your rejections and try to read between the lines. Sometimes "I didn't love it" means just that, but agents might give you a few useful tidbits. In the end, you've got to go with your gut about whether to continue querying or move on. But purely based on the stats, I say keep trying :)

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