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Need Advice regarding following up with a Literary Agent

Bottom Line Up Front: (if you want to know the context, please read below) An agent has held my manuscript for almost 3 months after his intern gave me a glowing review. I sent a follow up email 21 days ago, but no response. I have an opportunity to make a comment to the agent via Twitter, but I don't think that's an appropriate method of communicating. Has anyone experienced this type of thing before? How long should I wait? Is it bad to keep sending follow up emails? Should I try to talk to the agent's assistant on the side? Any advice is appreciated.

Background: I queried this agency regarding my manuscript. They requested the full manuscript for consideration. I sent it. The agent's intern read it and wrote a great review of my manuscript ending with the line: "I highly recommend this manuscript for consideration." She sent her review to myself and the literary agent. That process took 4 months.

Then the literary agent didn't respond for a while, but his intern had warned me in advance that he was busy and I should follow up in November 2012 (a month and a half later). After I followed up, he responded, "Thank you, we'll look into this." He then included a new assistant in this email (probably because the intern no longer works there).

So after he has held it in his possession for 2 months, I sent a follow up email in early January. . . with no response. Now it's been 21 days since I sent that email and long story short, I have the opportunity to ask him about it on Twitter, but I do not think Twitter is an appropriate medium for communicating this type of thing. How long would you wait for a response? Or would you send more follow up emails?



What would you hope to accomplish by following up at this point in time? Do you believe it will encourage the agent to bump the reading of your mansucript ahead of others waiting their turn, or ahead of her other responsiblities with authors she already represents?--contacting/following up with editors, negotiating contracts, working with a represented author to get a manuscript ready for submission, etc.

Sadly, in the publishing industry, glaciers move faster at times. Three months is not a long time to wait, especially considering you waited four months for your mansucript to be initially read. Will contacting the agent again in this short of time span be beneficial to your cause and help obtain representation?

If this is a solid agent, it's worth the wait. Work on another project while you're waiting, because having something else ready is never a bad thing. Often an agent/editor will ask what you're currently working on and how close to finished you are.

Good luck moving forward.
Thank you; that does put things in perspective. If there's anything I've learned, it's patience. To answer your question though, what I hope to gain is an acknowledgment that he hasn't forgotten about me. It took 4 months for the intern to submit her review of my MS because I had fallen through the cracks with the poor timing of her departure from the agency (she had finished reading it fairly quickly, but neglected to send her review in a timely manner). Had I not followed up with her, she would have forgotten to submit the review (cause she had already left the agency). But when she finally did send it, she warned me that if the agent doesn't respond by November (a month and a half away), that most likely I was a victim of bad timing again - and that I should follow up. After following up in November, he acknowledged it. So that's twice where following up kept me in the game. And that's why I'm concerned about it now and why I'm seeking advice.
How many other agents do you have the work out to? There is NO onus against sending a work to as many agents as you want; in fact, it's considered standard practice. I'm mentioning this because it sounds like you're placing all your eggs in this one agent's basket... I'm hoping you ALSO have the ms. out to at least a dozen other agents. Right? :)

Nothing wrong with monthly check-ins, I would think. At the same time, be polite, businesslike, and professional.

Caged Maiden

Article Team
I would recommend against repeatedly checking up. It only makes you look pushy and unprofessional. While I understand your concerns over the way this manuscript has been shuffled around and forgotten, the bottom line is that no response=no thanks.

I'm a person who likes closure, and I've had to get over it. In this business, an agent will respond if they get excited about your manuscript. if they don't... they have other things to do. it sounds harsh, and I certainly wish you the best of luck querying another agent, but it sounds like maybe the intern did you a disservice, and if the agent has seen your work and hasn't responded, I say, you have your response, unfortunately. It's always nice when they send you an email rejection so you can move on, but sometimes, they just don't.
Thank you both Kevin and Caged Maiden for your responses. To answer your question kevin, I'll tell you my plan in a nut shell. I have no previous published works. I queried 50 literary agents with my manuscript. This agent is the one that has gotten the farthest (and is the last one in the bunch). The entire time this has been happening, I've been working on my backup plan: I need to have some publishing credit on my bio before I query any more agents. I've been trying to sell my short story to magazines this whole time. Once that is published, I can update my bio and query to 20 more agents that I had set aside just for this purpose. These 20 agents happen to also want a synopsis (while the previous 50 didn't)... so I've been taking my time to develop a solid one page synopsis all in preparation for my next wave of queries. =)

But since I can only submit to one magazine at a time, it is taking a while. So I'm "holding on" to this agent until I'm ready to move on. However, TWErvin2 is right: I should keep working on my next book while I'm waiting.