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Agent has had my MS for ages, not heard a thing...?

(9 Posts)
Tamoo Thu 13-Sep-12 16:18:34

Hoping for advice from people who unlike me actually know how this stuff works!

I started sending out a MS in the spring. Sent it to about 12 agents, most rejected it, two never got back in touch so implicit rejection, one agent who had received just the opening chunk emailed and said they liked it, could I send the full work.

Which I did, at the beginning of August. I emailed back to say it was in the post and agent responded to that message. But I have heard nothing since, no acknowledgment of receipt or anything to say what they think of it or what they are doing with it. Even if they've just shredded it I'd like to know, since I don't feel 'right' about doing anything else with it while someone has already expressed an interest.

Is this normal? It's been roughly six weeks now. I'm not in the business so I don't have a clue what happens next wrt how they process things. If they read the whole thing and don't like it, surely they tell you?! Or is it common practice just to put it aside without further contact? And equally, if it's good enough to potentially sell surely they tell you if/while they're trying to do so?

Don't tell me to email because I'm too shy (!) and also don't want to appear pushy or reveal the magnitude of my ignorance smile I'd really just like to know what a reasonable timescale is for this type of thing and what the 'in house' process actually is. FWIW it is an established agency that I researched before sending. Also the person who emailed me is one of the agents rather than a reader/intern, so it seems from their website.

TIA smile

Punkatheart Thu 13-Sep-12 21:54:37

Some keep it for six months. Sorry - it is the most frustrating thing. They will get back to when they have something to tell you..

Novelist Fri 14-Sep-12 04:02:29

I'm afraid things do tend to move at a glacial pace in publishing. I'd give it six weeks from your ms landing on his/her desk and then send a polite email. Nothing at all wrong with a polite, professional email (seriously, you should see some of the rudeness my agent gets -- a polite, professional email after a reasonable amount of time is more than welcome). If you have a second round of agents to send to, I'd do that now as well. Not sure if you are sending to US or UK agents, but the US is easier to break into, in my opinion. I wouldn't waste a lot of time on UK agents if you could land a US one.

Tamoo Fri 14-Sep-12 07:29:17

Thanks. There's part of me that thinks they're all ROTFL at it and just don't know where to begin in telling me how crap it is.

I didn't try any US agents because it seems such a 'bigger pond' over there, also the story is quite British in its sensibilities (IMO) and I don't think they'd go for it...

LadySybildeChocolate Sat 15-Sep-12 23:25:40

Some of them take ages. Don't worry, just work on something else.

wordfactory Thu 20-Sep-12 16:19:45

Six weeks then nudge.

Tamoo Thu 20-Sep-12 16:25:39

Hmm it's been six weeks now. Does anyone actually know what they do with it? I mean, obviously they read the whole thing, but if one agent reads it and likes it to they have to get every other agent in their outfit to read it and like it as well before taking it on? Or is it down to the one individual? And are they likely to show it to publishers to gauge reaction before taking it on? And do they ever do this without telling the writer?

I haven't emailed and probably won't actually because it just speeds up the likely rejection IMO. Anyway I have sent it around quite a bit and only one person has been even vaguely interested. Have moved on to working on something else.

wordfactory Thu 20-Sep-12 16:32:28

Many agencies employ a slush reader.

They trawl through the oddles of subs and put forward the ones to the agent that they think have legs. The agent then reads.

Be aware agents' offices are packed with subs. They can easily go astray.

Tamoo Thu 20-Sep-12 16:36:00

Thanks. It was one of the actual agents that read it and contacted me about it in the first place (I checked online, it's a small agency but he is one of them). I addressed the MS in its entirety directly to him. I don't know if it was read by a sub before that.

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