Tuesday, February 13, 2007

How Long is Too Long?

(I'm so glad that so many of you guys want to tag along and post progress reports each Monday - see you then!)

Question of the day: I've been on the agent hunt for a few months, with a little success, but no agent as of yet. My dream agent requested a full about two and a half months ago, and I haven't heard anything back. Should I nudge her or should I just leave it alone?

Well, let me start by saying I think you need to remove "dream agent," from your vocabulary. There is no such thing as a dream agent with whom you aren't signed. Why? Because until an agent goes to work for you, you have no idea if, in fact, he or she really is a dream. I can't tell you how many stories I hear from fellow writers who signed with big names or people who were deemed "dreams," only to discover that these agents were closer to nightmares. Of course you can (and should) aspire to be signed by specific agents - I mean, how else would you conduct an efficient agent search? But so many writers sign with agents who ended up becoming dream agents, agents who respond quickly, agents who sell their work, agents who help them craft their future books, etc - and these agents might not have even been on these writers' top 10 lists. It's what an agent does for you that makes him or her a dream.

Anyhoo, is 2 1/2 months long enough? I dunno. Miss Snark says that it is not - that 90 days is standard in the industry - and that even then, she has loads of fulls that she hasn't read. If I were you (which I'm not), I'd probably check in with the agent, even if it's to get an ETA. I don't think you'll be considered a pest, and hey, if you are, after 2 1/2 months, you should consider whether or not this is a person with whom you'd want to work. Too many writers forget that they do have a tiny bit of power when it comes to finding an agent: namely, they can decide if they're willing to tolerate people who treat them like doormats (not that silence for 2 1/2 months means that he or she is treating you like a doormat, but finding you a pest might be), and if you're NOT willing to work with someone who deems you annoying after nearly three months, then you have your answer about whether he or she is your dream agent.

So...what say you? Would you check in or shut up and wait?


MaNiC MoMMy™ said...

I checked in usually around the two-month mark, but kept sending out queries in the interim, which I hope this person is doing, because it would be a shame to be sitting on the so-called 'dream' agent when there are other potential dream agents out there!

Good advice Allison!

Sara Hantz said...

Tricky one - I don't think checking on the status of a ms hurts after that length of time.

Anonymous said...

Check in with a polite e-mail, one "dream" agent who requested my manuscript still hasn't responded after oh, about a year! In the meantime, I found a responive new agent who loves my books:-)