How to Nudge an Agent

So you’ve sent your requested materials off to an agent. You’ve waited like a good little child, but it’s two weeks past the amount of time they asked you to allot them to read your work. You’ve heard nothing but crickets. What’s a writer to do? (No, I’m not talking about me- not yet anyway. I still have WEEKS to go before I get to the nudge stage!)

Thankfully, Vickie Motter, a real, live literary agent just did a post on this very topic! The helpful Ms. Motter even provides a template for that hard-to-write note! You can find it here.

Here’s another article, entitled “Nudging Know-How” from the wonderful QueryTacker. (If you read my blog, you know how I love them!)

As a side note, while I was researching how to nudge an agent, I found several sites that suggest you should call said agent to check in on the status of your manuscript. NO! NO NO NO! DO NOT DO THIS! EVER! Email or snail mail only, folks. You never want to put an agent on the spot like that. Not only is it uncomfortable, you might very well make them think you are pushy, and who on earth wants to sign a pushy, impatient client?


11 thoughts on “How to Nudge an Agent

  1. Thanks for the links. I’m at about four weeks now waiting to hear back from an agent. The agency site said “We do our best to respond to every submission in a timely manner.” I wonder what they mean by timely manner. Hmm.

    • This is for a query? To get a rough idea of query response times, use QueryTracker. Search for the agent by name and then click on it. It will take you to the agent’s overview page. Then, click on the tab that says “reports and statistics.” Use the drop down menu to select query response time. This will give you a rough idea of how long an agent takes. If they try to respond to everyone and you’re two or more weeks outside of their longest response time and it’s not the holidays or something, then you can always re-query. Just state that it is a re-query because of a lack of response.

  2. Yes, a query with partial MS… which I thought was a lot but that’s what she wanted! Anyway, I’d been to Query Tracker before but thanks for suggesting it again! I had forgotten. Plus I wasn’t using it right the last time I was there. Heh. Anywho… it seems this agent takes around two months to respond. So there you go!

    • Some agents do ask for that much. Some even ask for fulls! If I include those in my total statistics, I’ve got twelve partials and six fulls out. And of course, it takes a little longer for someone to read through all those partials, although eight weeks is the normal cutoff for most agents. A lot of them will try to get back to you sooner.

  3. So, I’m nowhere near this point, but this is REALLY good stuff to know/see and begin to think about before I get there. Now that I’ve got a decent part of my book done, I should start getting versed in such things.

  4. Always good to see how an agent would suggest doing it. I’ve done it before and found out the agent quit the agency and her partner tracked it down and called me. It didn’t get accepted, but at least I found out what happened.

  5. Very useful once again! Thanks for the great post.

    By the way, everyone, Amy did a wonderful job critiquing my manuscript, as chosen in her recent contest. She gave some excellent, thorough, and honest advice, and she approached it all superbly—making me feel like a good little writer but still giving me reason to improve. Thanks, Amy!

  6. Great great advice! I only ever follow up on fulls and partials. 🙂 Do you think people should follow up on a follow up? For example, I was told when I nudged that the book was still under consideration. Six more months passed without a word. I figured it was dead, but would you send a second follow up or just let it go?

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