Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Partials Status Update And Appeal To Agents

I’m still waiting for an approval or rejection from Agent #1 on my partial. The one I sent shortly before Christmas via snail mail. Since I hadn’t heard a peep in over four months now (patiently biting my nails in silence), I sent her an email last week, simply asking if she ever received my material.

I’m curious to see if she will even answer. She’s definitely a reputable agent - as per my internet-research - but last week I also found a forum in which many other queryers had stated/complained that they received a request for a partial very soon after sending the query, but then, after sending the material, never heard back. Only few of them ever received a written rejection.

Judging by (only) this forum, it sounds to me as if this agent asks for partials as soon as she is slightly interested by the query. Which, in itself, is fine by me - hey, my material got a chance to be read by her at least - if it weren’t for the no-answer issue.

I understand when agents say they don’t answer every query that lands in their inbox. I think it’s amazing that most actually do, considering they get so many queries per month. But if an agent requests more material, be it a partial or the full manuscript, I think it’s polite to at least respond to the writer who’s wringing her hands in anticipation, checking her inbox every five minutes, doubting, hoping, trying not to think about it, resisting the urge to make a peep via phone or email. The anticipation is bad enough when you’ve sent out a query, but an “unanswered” partial is a bit like awaiting your torture in front of the torture chamber, listening to the screams coming through the thick iron door. But we’ve read, learned and understand that we need to be patient, so we wait. And, with this agent, the waiting seems eternal. I’d be very happy about a form rejection at this point, because hanging in limbo like this is worse than a polite ‘thanks, but no thanks’.

I know most agents do answer sooner or later (thank you!), that there are exceptions to every rule, and that aspiring authors have to learn to live with waiting and rejection. And I do realize that it’s still in the acceptable time frame for Agent #1 to answer. I’m not counting my chickens, though. That I haven’t heard back from her most likely means she’s not interested. But I can’t be sure… and hope dies last. Often in a volley of bitterness.

So this is an appeal to all agents out there: Any response is better than none. Please let us tantalized writers know where we stand.

Thank you!

Edited to add: Scott Eagan wrote a post on this very subject a little later today. I wonder what category of request-reasons "my" Agent #1 falls under...

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