Help Please! Nudge letters to agents

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The "Truth about Publishing"

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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.

:)
 
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...
 
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.
 
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?
 
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.
 
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.
 
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 ;)
 
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.
 
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 :)
 
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 :)
 
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.
 
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. :)
 
You're a good writer, and whatever frees you is worth doing if feeling un-free is holding you stuck.

Rejection's no cause for embarrassment, or at least, people feel how they feel, but it needn't be; not in this arena.

Was she a crafts-person/artist/writer too? What sort of person was your mother?
 
Very moving, Rachel. What a wonderful account of a great, good, gifted spirit. And how lucky she was that you could see her for the person she was, and that you valued and treasured what she wished to give you, what she had to give you, but how dreadfully cruel Life can be, not to do the decent thing and just finish us off cleanly.
 
This evening I received this nice email from the agency.
"I’m so sorry for the delay – we’ve been absolutely snowed under! I’m afraid we simply haven’t had a chance to sit down and look at ROSENDALE properly yet, but we’ll try and prioritise it. We are very busy at the moment, though, so please don’t let us stop you from forging ahead with another agent if that opportunity presents itself…"

Of course, now I want to get signed by this agency even more than before, because they sound nice!
 
Aw...!
I once tweeted a publisher who had rejected me to tell them it was the most pleasant rejection I'd ever had. And I got a friendly reply to that tweet, too.
Helps ease the pain....
 
Fingers crossed for you Rachel. It is a busy time - Bologna & LBF are a big distraction from the slush pile. It's very frustrating for an author who just wants the agency to open their submission and take a quick look. However, as there are a lot of other writers in the same boat, let's hope they didn't take Rich's advice and wrote stinker follow-up letters, demanding to know what the hell is going on - it might clear them out of the way. Politeness is always the best policy.

In the meantime, send it elsewhere. I do believe it's a game of casting your net as wide as possible...

...and writing something good! ;);)
 
Fingers crossed for you Rachel. It is a busy time - Bologna & LBF are a big distraction from the slush pile. It's very frustrating for an author who just wants the agency to open their submission and take a quick look. However, as there are a lot of other writers in the same boat, let's hope they didn't take Rich's advice and wrote stinker follow-up letters, demanding to know what the hell is going on - it might clear them out of the way. Politeness is always the best policy.

In the meantime, send it elsewhere. I do believe it's a game of casting your net as wide as possible...

...and writing something good! ;);)
and now this received tonight (Sunday):
Thank you for your understanding, Rachel. We’ll come back to you as soon as we possibly can but don’t hesitate to get in touch again if you still haven’t heard in another 4 weeks.

Aghahahghahahahghgghghhaaahhh!
 
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Craft Chat Blog Post - Platform For Fiction Writers

The "Truth about Publishing"

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