Dear Miss Snark,
A protocol question.
Many agents who accept or even prefer email queries indicate in their listings that they will respond only if they're interested in seeing more. Aside from whether a no-repsonse policy is "fucking rude" (your words for it more than a year ago) or whether it's even logical (it takes less time to hit REPLY, paste in a form rejection and hit SEND than it does to stuff the same letter into a SASE and seal it), it also creates a problem for writers considering a subsequent query to another agent at the same agency.
Let's say I do my homework and assemble a list of twenty agents to start with. Agent 5 and Agent 19 both work at the same large agency. Both accept only electronic queries, but due to the overwhelming number of submissions they receive, they are afraid they can't respond to each of them.
I email a letter and some embedded pages to Agent 5 and wait, oh, six weeks. Does her lack of reply mean a lack of interest? Probably, and I'm okay with it. But I've worked my way down to Agent 19 in the meantime.
I know enough not to send simultaneous queries. I could shoot Ms. Five a quick email to make sure she's already moved on, but how clueless does that look -- and how effective is it likely to be -- in an environment in which replying to a query is too much trouble? I could assume that two months on a query is long enough, but that would be just a guess, and I once received a positive response after waiting longer than that.
So at what point does " " shift from "I'm working, be patient" to "not right for me, thanks"?
30 days minimum, 45 maximum. If someone can't bother to reply to an email in 45 days, fuck em.
I find it loathsome that my colleagues do this. And if you're reading this, and you're an agent, and you do this, stop it. You're making us all look like arrogant asswipes, and frankly I don't need any help on that score.