How to follow up with an agent

Email is the only suitable way to follow up on your query. Agents take 4 to 6 weeks minimum to look at material and many agents state they will only get in touch if they are interested in reading more. If you have an offer or have won an award, then by all means get in touch to let us know because that will encourage us to get to it much quicker.

Some agents like a nudge because it gets us reading, however, some do not due to the number of emails they get already.

The Golden Rule: Always follow the protocol on the website of the agent who you queried.
THE DON’TS
  • Do not call. It won’t get you any further and queries aren’t the first thing on an agent’s mind.
  • Do not show up at the agency.
  • Do not get in touch unless the agent has had the manuscript for a long time (2 months+), you have an offer of representation/publication, or other big news regarding your writing.
  • Do not assume anything. When you do check in the agent may or may not have read it.
THE DOS
  • Do get in touch right away if you have received an offer. That will give us appropriate time to read your work and let you know if we are also interested.
  • Do pay attention to the guidelines that agents give you. I know it seems easy just to do blanket actions (query letters, follow up, how you format your manuscript etc.), but if you want to make the biggest impression on each agent follow their specs perfectly. Don’t give them a chance to reject your work.
  • Do be patient and wait the allotted time for an agent to review. It does not help to be overly eager in following up, it projects the idea that you’re unclear about how querying works.

And find ways to keep yourself busy with more writing.

Any questions?

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7 thoughts on “How to follow up with an agent

  1. Curious. What do you recommend when you have an agent who requested the entire manuscript but hasn’t responded in the five months since? I emailed to follow up, but it went unanswered.

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  2. What do you do if the agent’s website and blog don’t mention anything about following up? If it doesn’t tell you “no”, does that mean you should simply wait 6 or more weeks and follow up anyway?

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  3. “Do not call.” Agreed.

    In my office, only one of our publishing staff talks on the phone daily. Other times, I get a shock when I hear one of our editorial staffs’ phones ring. Is that an actual phone ringing? I wonder why someone would call. AKA it better be important when someone calls an agent/editor — and checking up on a query ISN’T that!

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