photo credit: Angelina Litvin via Unsplash

You’re out there querying – good for you! What can you expect in terms of agent responses?

First, remember that it might take a while to hear back. A good long while. Agents are super busy. Most, if not all, spend the bulk of their day negotiating deals for their current clients’ projects, submitting proposals, reviewing client manuscripts and suggesting revisions, dealing with royalty statements, etc. They review queries in batches when they have a bit of extra time, often on the nights and weekends.

Understanding that the process is not a quick one, here’s a range of what you might expect:

An agent might request your full manuscript. This means you have piqued their interest with your query and, depending on their submission guidelines (you’re following their submission guidelines, right?), your sample pages. Congratulations! This is a good start. It doesn’t mean you will receive an offer of representation, but it’s good to celebrate every ounce of progress.

Once the agent has read your full manuscript, they may request a call with you. Get excited! A call usually means an offer of representation is coming, or perhaps an “R&R,” which is a request to revise the manuscript and resubmit it.

An agent might request a partial, meaning a certain number of pages or chapters of your manuscript. Again, this is a good sign. If they like the partial, they might subsequently request the full manuscript.

An agent might respond with a form rejection. Don’t be offended; it’s a common practice. Remember how busy they are?

An agent might respond with a personalized rejection. It’s nice of them to take the time to do this, and you may respond with a simple “thank you” if you are so inclined.

An agent might not respond to your query at all. An unfortunate truth: usually, a failure to respond equals a rejection. 

Let’s get this out of the way too: a rejection is of your manuscript, not you.

As you wait, don’t sit around stressing and constantly refreshing your inbox. Go ahead and start on your next project. Keep going. You’ve got this.

The year is fast coming to a close. But I’d love to stay in touch! You can find me: