Lost Query Letters

Dear Miss Snarkalicious (if Fergie can do it, so can you!);

I sent queries to several agents five months ago and have yet to hear from three of them. I'm not talking about partial or full manuscripts, mind you - only a simple one-page document. These are reputable agents by all standards including P&E. Frankly, I find it rude. I know your Holy Snarkness would never perpetrate such an injustice but I'd like your take on it. Could my queries be so bad that they've decided to completely ignore me? Have I been branded "Nitwit of the Year" without my knowledge?

Let me add that I am a published author and president of my RWA chapter, not a fresh-off-the-turnip-truck newbie. What gives?

Are they still alive? You'd be surprised how many people query agents who have gone to the slush pile in the sky.

Did you include an SASE?

Seriously, stuff happns. Letters get lost, addresses are wrong, stamps fall off, I get mail back that people addressed to themselves. I've had to re-address envelopes when the zip code was unreadable. I've had to stamp so called SASEs.

Query again. It's not always what you think.


Melanie Lynne Hauser said...

I once queried an agency & received a standard "thanks but no thanks." A year passed, I got representation elsewhere but that agent moved on to sell real estate (no joke), I had to query again for this same book. And I went ahead and requeried this same agency, only to get an offer of representation this time around. Same query letter, same book. The difference was that the agent who had initially rejected me had left the agency and a different agent read my letter this time.

So yep. Stuff happens.

Anonymous said...

That happened to me and an email query verifying my status jump-started the process by the agent asking to send the query again. Then he asked for the full mss! (So this *can* work.) However, the agent in question has had the full mss for 20 weeks and counting and no amount of follow-up snail mail or email (or even *gasp* a phone call to confirm contact information) has elicited a reply. Onto agent #2...

Barbjn said...

"You'd be surprised how many people query agents who have gone to the slush pile in the sky."


But wouldn't that be an agent's idea of hell?

Anonymous said...

Hmm. I re-e-queried at the beginning of this year and recieved a rather terse reply that thanked me for querying again (emphasis on that) but they still(emphasis again) weren't interested. Turns out their first email had gone astray. Boy do I feel like a nitwit ...

Emphasis was added by myself.

Ellen said...

While I agree with Miss Snark that stuff happens, there are clearly agents out there who don't believe in sending rejections. They let silence suffice.

Do I think it's rude? Absolutely. But not as rude as agents who request a ms. and never respond, despite SASE's and follow-ups.

The good news is that these agents are in the minority. Most are respectful and professional. So my advice to this RWA author is to keep going and not take it personally.

Chumplet said...

There are also agents who are truly swamped, and a gentle nudge compels them to dig the said query from the toppling pile.

That happened to me. The agent sent me a very kind rejection with apologies for taking so long to respond. She also offered advice regarding the premise and length of the novel. I shall respect her forever, and she's at the top of my list for my next novel.

J. M. A. said...

Today I received a form rejection from an agent I queried last May (my query even had a recommendation noted from an editor). Not everyone works with Kristen Nelson's lightning speed. To be honest, I'd just written the agent off as not interested. Now it's official. Oh, well. Forward I go.