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Help! Nudge letters to agents

Rich.

Guardian
Staff member
Patron
#2
Something like...

Dear X,

I know that you are extremely busy, but I was wondering if you'd had time to consider my manuscript XXX. Your website says you normally reply within six weeks and as three months have now passed, I thought I'd check that nothing has gone awry.

Many thanks for you time.

Best wishes,

etc. etc.


I think the key here is to be polite and not overthink it.

:)
 
#7
For me I would probably put in the subject line:

QUERY UPDATE "Manuscript Name"

For most query letters they ask the word QUERY to be in the subject line. I put UPDATE alongside it as it's open to interpretation. It doesn't sound passive aggressive because you could be either asking for an update or giving them a relevant update--as agents like to be kept in the loop if there are other persons interested, or if for any reason you would like to pull your manuscript from their consideration. They won't know until they read the content important sounding email.

Though I am hoping a more experienced voice will put me on the right track...
 

Rich.

Guardian
Staff member
Patron
#8
Given that many inboxes these days are organized by conversation, I would reply to my own original query, which would automatically give me the subject line re:[original query subject] and automatically include the pitch (minus attachments) in the nudge. That way you make it easy for the agent to connect the two.

You don't want to make them wade through 500 emails looking for your original pitch.
 

Rich.

Guardian
Staff member
Patron
#10
I can understand that, although I do think (perhaps pig-headedly) that if an agent indicates they respond to queries in, say, eight weeks and you've waited twelve, it's only human to nudge. After all, once an agent is bagged, they become, effectively, an employee of the author. You wouldn't want to employ someone who doesn't keep their word, would you?
 
#11
I can understand that, although I do think (perhaps pig-headedly) that if an agent indicates they respond to queries in, say, eight weeks and you've waited twelve, it's only human to nudge. After all, once an agent is bagged, they become, effectively, an employee of the author. You wouldn't want to employ someone who doesn't keep their word, would you?
This is what I'm thinking. The agent said in an email 'by the end of April', so I'll wait to the end of May, then give a nudge.
 
#12
I don't think I'd nudge at all. Whether the work has not yet been assessed, or the opening page (or even opening line) has been read and dismissed, if the agent hasn't contacted you, nudging isn't going to do more than irritate. Send to someone else. Or send it again in six months.
 
#13
Are you nudging on a full or an initial submission?

If the latter check their guidelines. Some state that no response means no. If not then definitely nudge. For timescales I generally look at their stated response time and double it.

For a full the general rule of thumb is to nudge after three months.

If you get more full requests it's worth nudging on any outstanding submissions (both fulls and initial submissions) with a update. Knowing other agents are interested can push them into action :) I know people say you should only update when you get an offer but I've found that updating on a full request generates more full requests ;)
 
#14
This agency asked straight from the start to see the whole manuscript. They're the ones that I got excited about at the beginning of April, because I'd never before received a note from an agent, acknowledging receipt of a manuscript and saying they thought it sounded 'intruiging'. (My bad) I was swiftly put right by Litopians who told me not to get excited and the letter was fairly standard. Anyhoo... the agency said they'd try to get back to me by the end of April, so I reckon a month extra is enough. Surely, if they've read it and don't like it I would have heard by now. If they haven't read it (for example, because of extra work generated by the London Book Fair in April) it might have fallen back to the bottom of the shlush pile, a gentle reminder won't hurt. In other words, if they are going to like it a letter can't hurt and if they don't, ditto.
 
#15
Obviously I've not seen the letter but I disagree about it sounding fairly standard - acknowledging receipt and giving a response time would be but adding in a bit about it being intriguing isn't. That would suggest to me that they've had a quick look and like what they see. So definitely nudge them. The worst it will do is remind them you're there. :)

However I do hope you have been continuing to send out submissions. Never have all your eggs in one basket :)
 
#16
I have sent out (it feels like hundreds) lots over a couple of years. Mostly before the latest rewrite. Then a few went out with (what I see now was a crappy)old synopsis and cover note. This one, was one of two to get the final rewrite, the kickass synopsis and awesome cover note :)
 
#17
I was swiftly put right by Litopians who told me not to get excited and the letter was fairly standard.

Swiftly put right?

Oh dear : / Was that how it felt to you? Litopians pounced to talk down your hopes? Positive feedback is positive feedback. Nothing could take that away from you @Rachel Caldecott-Thornton, and I'm sure no-one here had such a thing in mind. It was that you had expressed anxiety and difficulty about waiting, and that there's many a near miss with this stuff. There just is, and you've said you've only written a couple of things so it's early days still, and managing one's expectations is not to accept defeat. Not at all, but is a coping strategy and a way of staying in charge in a situation where the writer only has control up to a certain point, and for reasons that may have nothing to do with the quality of their writing. You've had some highly positive feedback about your writing projects, and I am sure no- one meant you to feel they were rubbishing your chances.

Best of luck with this submission. I would now nudge.
 
#19
Well, I did it. I sent my nudge letter this morning. I figure it wouldn't make much difference to the outcome, but it would stop me obsessing.

So, even though the I Ching yesterday, said, "Do not let yourself be seduced by greed and desire. You will be left feeling sad, embarrassed and full of remorse. The holy man advises you to think ahead." (If that wasn't a clear "Don't do it, Rachel!" I don't know what is).

But today is the third anniversary of my mum's death, so I did it anyway. Because I'm nothing if not foolhardy and impatient.

I will be ringing the Gong of Rejection later, I imagine. :)
 
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