Monday, September 12, 2011

Agents and Their Responses to Queries

Janet Reid has an excellent post concerning queries. She gives her opinion of Rachelle Gardner and Jill Corcoran and their method of ‘no response means no’.

Far be it from me to get in the middle of this discussion but maybe a sidebar is in order.

After researching an agent and agency, employing hours and days of work, please Mr. or Ms Agent let me know if you’ve received my query. It can be an auto-reply or a rejection.

(At this point in my writing career, if a rejection pinches my ego, I figure that is MY problem not yours.)

Have a website or a Publisher’s Marketplace page. This seems rudimentary but I see this often. If you don’t market yourself, how can you market my manuscript?

Keep your site updated. Come on, are you really so busy that you can’t take ten minutes to post something more current than 2009?

List your preferences. Again, this seems like a ‘duh’ but sadly it isn’t. Tell me exactly what you do not want. This saves us both time and work.

If you are not taking new clients and routinely deleting/shredding queries, please let me know. Don’t coast.

I realize you receive queries that don’t follow the rules and that you must wade through the mucky ones to find the gems. But I’ve taken the time, Mr. or Mrs. Agent, to research and read your submission guidelines line by line, Google all your interviews, study your blog and website. Please respond in some fashion even if it is with a ‘no’, a form letter, or an auto-response that you received the query.

Believe me, the phrase "no news is good news" is a horrible way to conduct business.


  1. YESSSS. We need more posts like these!

  2. Totally agree. If they can't take the time to do any of the above, they aren't top notch in my book.

  3. btw - alex j cavanaugh started a support group for insecure writers, link to his blog in my sidebar... come and join us :)

  4. @ Laughingwolf
    um. Am I insecure?? *sigh* I don't know. I prefer to shrug and reload rather than complain or B***h but thanks for the link.

  5. Agreed, agreed, agreed. Nathan Bransford posted about this today and is taking comments. This no response policy is, to me, arrogant and unprofessional.

  6. @ KarenG
    Thanks for the heads up! I went to Mr. Bransford's site and left a comment, kinda summarizing the above.

    Another pet peeve of mine (maybe I DO need to join Alex's Insecure Writers Blog, LOL), is the non-response to a request for more pages. I sent the requested partial to an agent last spring. She didn't reply after 5 months and a nudge. So...cuss and go on, I reckon.

  7. Huntress, well said! It is after all a business - one should act professional.

  8. I loved this! It's so hard to do that research on an agent when there is NO info about them anywhere online.

    And a no is so much better than silence.

  9. Janet Reid is very professional. I agree wholeheartedly in what she said.

  10. i was so happy when i saw the Janet Reid post. I mean, i'm pretty laid back, so the no news means no issue didn't bother me too much. But could you imagine how much more efficient querying would be for everyone if there were at least auto-replies or form rejections for every query?

  11. Thank goodness for some sanity! How hard is it to just send a no?

  12. You put what's in all our minds out there. Wouldn't it be great if all the agents got copies of this?
    Right from the heart.

  13. Agreed! One can craft a very lovely form rejection, save it for everyone, and then send it out. That's polite. (I also hate form rejections that aren't well written.)

  14. EXCELLENT post! At the very least, the auto-reply should be mandatory.

  15. To all who posted, the last word (mine) on this post:

    Mr. or Ms. Agent:
    Just let me know you got the query. PULeeeze, that is all I ask.
    As I thank you for your time, remember, *I* have taken the time to investigate you and your policies. Please take the time to format an auto-reply. That is all we want. Well, yeah, there is that contract-thingy but Hey, I can wait.
    Again, thank you for your time.
    A Writer


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