This week a writer’s blog pointed out how writers should be aware of the conflicting advice available to them regarding every aspect of your query. As we all know, the most important part of your query is that you fine tune your submission to abide by the guidelines created by the agency and or specific agent.
While I was aware of the mixed messages regarding querying, I’ve also noticed that there are some conflicting opinions about how long to wait to follow up after you get the coveted request for a partial/full from an agent. The last thing I want to do is nag the agent that has given me a reason to keep writing but at what point am I allowed to politely request an update? Do we have a beautiful future together or shall I move on? I’ve read that proper etiquette is to wait as short as 4 weeks or as long as 8 before re-contacting the agent that has requested to look at more of your novel. I’ve been waiting about 3 weeks since my last request from a gracious agent and I dread the passing of week 4, as my outlook on any positive response dwindles with each day after that…
I also notice on query tracker that several writers admit to querying almost 100 agents before they’re published. I think I read one writer that said he/she had received about 10 positive responses (requests for partial or full) out of almost 100 queries. I’d be interested to know if that person ultimately found an agent or not. My question is this, at what point do you move on? With every positive response, faith in your story is renewed, but there are only so many agents out there and while a positive response gives a writer new hope in that story it doesn’t mean much if it doesn’t result in a partnership with an agent.
Fellow writers, I ask you this, how long do you wait before you follow up with an agent that has requested your material? And, at what point do you personally decide that a story is not going to be published? Is it a gut feeling or merely a forced reality once you’ve exhausted all of the agents in your genre? (Lets assume you’ve had several requests for partials/fulls but no constructive criticism regarding what changes might make your novel ‘the one’ that an agent wants to represent.) Just how many queries are too many?
I’m torn on the answers to these questions but I’ve decided for certain that the important thing is that I keep on keeping on! Sit down at the keyboard and write some more. Maybe my next novel will be ‘the one’….the important thing I try to tell myself is that writing is what I love to do. If I begin to dread it because I decide that an unpublished story is a bad story then I’ve lost my way and need to step back for a week or so and reevaluate why I’m here to begin with.
Smile! Be smart! Have fun! And keep on writing!