Dear Miss Snark,
The Snarkives (hat tip to Miss Adventure!) reveal a three-month timeline for full ms submissions with a follow-up email. I sent a snail (with SASE) status query ten days ago on such a ms and as the silence stretches one day into another, am beginning to wonder if I should even want this agent to offer representation.
Can agents be enthusiastic about projects they left sitting for months? Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever offered representation on a project that required a status query before you read it? And if so, did you act quickly or stop to swill gin and ruminate a good long time beforehand?
I can't help thinking if the agent cared, I'd get at least an email letting me know the agent was still alive and taking nourishment.
Thanks much for all you do.
When you send me a project it's like when you look through a telescope, then turn it around and look through lenses from the other side.
From your side, it focuses on the ONE thing you're looking at, your manuscript, and it fills up the screen so it's all you see.
My side of the telescope is the reverse view: there are lots of manuscripts to be seen, and they are small specks, and all of them are on my desk and I think they reproduce at night.
Your query is your only baby. When it sits on my desk it's one of many. I've said before, and I'll say again, that responding to status queries is part of our job and it's a complete breach of etiquette to intentionally not do so.
However, as they say, fecal matter falls from the firmament, and some days it's a damn deluge.
I have indeed had projects that I'm enthusiastic about that I've let sit. This happens when my day to day stuff is overwhelming. Sometimes that day to day stuff goes on for a while and when that happens the LAST thing I want to do is try to read your manuscript.
I don't know if I've offered representation to people who've had to nudge me cause I don't keep track of that.
Whatever you do, hold on to your cool, don't assume the agent is an idiot, doesn't care, or is saying no via silence. You don't know what's going on with an agent and like you, we have lives, and sometimes they fall apart.