Wednesday, April 3, 2013

IWSG: Bravery

I started querying in Aug '12 and requests came in from August through November.  A bunch of them!   That was good ... but now it's April and more than half of those who received fulls or partials haven't gotten back to me.  

So ... do I nudge?

Isn't nudging an agent rather like poking a bear with a stick?  They can't be happy about getting poked.  Do you really want to take a chance on annoying the person who holds your future in their hands?

And technically, a request that's still out isn't a rejection -- there's still hope, and that hope helps me sleep at night.


I'll never know if it's a "yes" 
--or perhaps a lost submission--
unless I ask...

 But it's SCARY!!

How many months would you wait before you'd poke the bear?



This is a post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. It exists so the community of blogging writers can share and support each other, blog-hopping to cheerlead and commiserate. To find out more, visit: Insecure Writer's Support Group.



42 comments:

Medeia Sharif said...

I remember nudging and I had to build the nerve to do so. I first would reread the submission policy to see how long they normally took.

Scribbles From Jenn said...

This very question was proposed to several agents at the O.C. Agent's Day last month and they all said 'poke the bear'. Nudging doesn't change their mind, it just forces them to say the 'yay or nay' they had already prepared.
Jenn @Scribbles From Jenn

Kate Larkindale said...

I'd nudge. Knowing has to be better than living in limbo, never sure what the story is....

Annalisa Crawford said...

After 8 months, I'd say you're definitely entitled to nudge. Good luck!

Annalisa Crawford, One of April's IWSG Co-Hosts

Patsy said...

I'd read all the info on their site and any correspondence carefully to see if time scales are mentioned. If they are and these have been exceeded you probably should nudge, mentioning the timescale.

Empty Nest Insider said...

The consensus is to nudge. I'm sorry that this must be such a frustrating process for you, but hopefully everything will work out soon. Looks like you have a lot of people cheering for you, and I'm one of them. Best of luck Lexa.

Julie

Cathy Keaton said...

I agree with the others. You should ask them what the deal is about your MS. If they've had it for several months, that's plenty of time for them to have gotten around to it. If not, then they're slacking off and you need to remind them.

I would never be able to handle all that waiting around. Self-publishing for me. :)

Natalie Aguirre said...

Sounds like you've been patient and could do a nudge, especially for the ones who requested it in August-October. Good luck with it. Fingers crossed that you get good news.

Nick Wilford said...

I don't think you should feel that way about it because it's your career and you have a right to know what's going on. I've heard 3 months as a ballpark figure before "poking".

SA Larsenッ said...

I believe it's totally acceptable to start poking now. Just a friendly inquiry as to the state of your manuscript at said agency. Nothing wrong with that. Best of luck, dear friend!

J.L. Campbell said...

I'm with SA. A decent amount of time has passed now.

Didn't realize that you live in Egypt. That's exciting for me, as it's one of the places I'd LOVE to visit. I think it's one of the most fascinating places on earth, so I'll be checking out your Egypt page.

Jolie du Pre said...

I'm so out of practice with that. I don't work with an agent. In the 21st century, I prefer to work with a small publisher or go the indie route.

Julie Luek said...

Hi Lexa-- sounds like great advice here-- nothing more to add. Good luck with your poking! I bet gentleness and politeness go a long way with the poke ;)

Suze said...

Good luck whatever you decide, sweet Lex.

C. Lee McKenzie said...

If they say X number of weeks in their sub policy, follow that. Hope none of them have a "if we're interested, we'll get back to you" clause. Those are killers. Good luck, Lexa!

Michael Offutt, S.F.A. said...

Just remember, an agent will ultimately be your employee happily scooping up 15% of your earnings once you find a home for your project. So, I think that a politely worded email asking for a status update is fully within your right. If they get mad and reject you for asking that kind of question, then they are not someone you want to work with anyway because communication is very important for business.

nutschell said...

Good job getting requests! It takes time, but you'll find the right one soon. Sending you positive thoughts!
Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Lara said...

I would nudge--they've had at least 5 months with the book, so that's enough time for you to check in and see where they're at. Good luck!

Jess said...

I thought there was a three-month nudge rule, as in you're not out of line if you check-in after three months.

elegsabiff said...

Good question! Nudge. You know you want to.

Al Diaz said...

I think a lot of time has passed already. I would vote for nudging. :D

Donna K. Weaver said...

I vote for a nudge after this much time. At the very least, you could say you wanted to make sure they'd received the manuscript. Good luck!

Lexie C. said...

A lot of great advice here in the comments! Poking a bear sounds dangerous to me but sometimes it may be necessary? Best of wishes to you! :)

Emma Adams said...

I always worry about this! It sounds like you've waited a reasonable amount of time, and I don't see anything wrong with a friendly reminder. Good luck! :)

Candilynn Fite said...

I think after six months, it's okay for you to check in with them (the ones who've requested material). Best of luck!!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Suzanne's post was on the same thing today. What you're feeling is very natural. We all think in similar terms in the beginning, agents are godlike and need to be treated with kid gloves. In truth, they're just people like you and me. There's absolutely nothing wrong with a gentle nudge. If you're allowed to email, all the better. Tomorrow, email and ask if they read your chapters and are interested in reading more. Or something along those lines.

They really won't be upset for the reminder. Life gets in the way, and everybody needs the occasional reminder.

Rachael Featherstone said...

I vote nudge too, anything over 3 months and I think a gentle reminder is fine.

Cecilia Robert said...

Congrats on the requests, Lexa. That's really huge. :) Like everyone said, a gentle nudge isn't a bad idea. A friend of mine queried last year and had a partial request. Then everything was quiet for about 9 months. My friend 'gently nudged' the agent. And the agent was really happy she'd emailed her. Like Joylene said, life gets in the way. gentle reminder isn't a bad idea :D

Margo Berendsen said...

I love all these comments, because I didn't know the answer to that nudge question, either. sounds like some debate as whether to wait 3, 6 or 9 months, but 9 seems really long!

michelle said...

Nudge or maybe they won't budge...
That just sprang to mind this moment...
Good luck Lexa!

Breanna said...

The difference between a nudge and a poke would be the level of swearing. Nudge the agents, don't poke them. Only someone that you wouldn't want to work with would object to a gentle nudge; you'll be polite, and knowing you, you already know which agents have a "If I don't answer, that's a no" policy. (Which is a stupid, stupid policy.)

Beth said...

Be brave!

Romance Reader said...

A gentle reminder maybe? Just asking of they received your earlier correspondence?

All the best!

Nas

Mina Lobo said...

There are so many differing thoughts on whether to nudge or not that I think the best thing an author can do is put herself in the agent or editor's shoes and ask herself, "If I were the agent/editor, with my crazy workload, would I appreciate being nudged after "X" amount of months?" And then act in according to your answer. Doing unto others as I'd like done unto me is how I try to live and, though it may not always work for the others, at least I know I acted in accordance with my own personal code of ethics. Know what I mean, jellybean? :-)

Georgina Morales said...

I'd say nudge. It's better to know and I don't think you're being unreasonable. But all this process is so tantalizing... I admire your courage. Best of luck!

tfwalsh said...

If months have passed, I would nudge for sure:)

Elise Fallson said...

If I were in your shoes, I'd send a polite reminder or simply ask if they received your ms. Keeping my fingers crossed for you! Hope you get positive feedback soon. (:

Suzanne Furness said...

Oh gosh yes we are on the same wavelength, Lexa! I think I'm going to go for it next week and send that polite email. What about you, shall we hold each others hands? Fingers crossed for us both :)

Karen Tamara said...

Nudge! Agent's don't want to be nudged two weeks after they requested, or even two weeks after you nudged. But most of them don't mind a friendly inquiry. I had to nudge my agent because things were going on within the agency that caused a delay. I nudged and they told me they were still very interested, but there were things happening that caused a delay in responses. I learned, after I got The Call, that assistant agents were being made into full agents and those who worked in other areas were being made into assistant agents. It's been long enough for you to nudge and not feel bad about it. Good luck! I hope your nudging works out as well as mine did!

Karen

Carissa Taylor said...

I've always heard that 3-6 months is about the right time to nudge on a partial, 6-12 months on a full.

Definitely give a polite nudge (ie "just checking to make sure you received my submission etc) once it's crossed that line!

Kim (YA Asylum) said...

It sounds like you've gotten pretty good advice. So far all the partials/fulls I've gotten have told me when it's appropriate to nudge them in the confirmation email. Otherwise, I think what Carissa said it true. 3-6 months for a partial (though, I'd do it in 3) and around 4-6 for a full.

Good luck! Fingers crossed :)

Melanie Crouse said...

I just nudged, and it turned out just fine. I've had a full on on editor's desk for 6 months, and it's still there, but at least I know she still plans to look at it. It feels better.

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