What is ASAP in terms of days?

Miss Snark--Do agents ever quickly read a requested manuscript? A Dream Agent responded to my e-query asking me to email him a copy of the novel and he would like to read it "as soon as possible." Even in the literary agent world (where time stands still), might ASAP actually mean something?

well, sure. I read some things very quickly. Ransom notes. Royalty statements. Manuscripts that have been here for 85 days. Yanno..urgent stuff.

Ok seriously, agents read things quickly all the time. Generally the things I turn around quickly are the ones that come from: editors; other agents; with deals attached; or, are so good I think someone else is going to pounce.

However, "as soon as possible" does not mean you fall into any of those categories. Try not to pace the floor. 90 days on a full novel is still standard, and longer is pretty normal too. While you're waiting, go write ransom notes for my kidnapped youth.


Ric said...

I sent an email query in the morning. Request in the afternoon for full ms.
Two days later, I get an email asking where the ms is.
Four days later, I get an email, with very nice comments but ultimately declining the ms.

Eight days later, I get the ms back, mailed at the agent's expense.

Doesn't happen very often, but there are some folks out there who do it that way.

M. G. Tarquini said...

I occurs to me that in 90 days...one could finish the first draft of another novel.

It'll save the carpet.

M. G. Tarquini said...

Sorry. IT occurs to me...

Cyclus said...

Note to Benteen (alas, not read so quickly):

Benteen. Come on. Be quick. Big village. Bring packs. P.S., bring packs.


Anonymous said...

Yes, fast happens. I had two agents request my ms and then read it within three days (Agent A) and five days (Agent B), and offer representation. (Don't break out the champagne; she hasn't sold the damn thing.)

But unfast also happens. I know someone who received an offer of representation four months after she had signed with another agent, and I talked to a novelist at a party who claimed an agent finally got back with an offer of representation when her book was actually in press.

Fast, slow. But if they say "ASAP" I'd get it sent off "ASAP" from your side. (Priority Mail is good. Express Mail looks a little silly. So,"ASAPWEM," As Soon As Possible Without Express Mail.)

Elektra said...

above anon...why didn't your friend take the time to write the agents a quick note, along the lines of "thank you for your interest; I have, however, just signed with another agent"? Seems like, instead of berating the agents for being so slow, he should kick himself for being so inconsiderate.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I agree with elektra. Common courtesy, esp. if the agent/client thing doesn't work out after a year or two, they part ways, and the writer has to find another agent.