Writers always ask: What does it mean if an agent has my manuscript for awhile?
It means nothing if we’ve had it for a long time.
It doesn’t mean we aren’t interested.
It doesn’t mean we’ve read it and are failing to get back to you.
It means that we likely haven’t even got to it yet. So you can presume absolutely nothing.
So, what do you do when an agent has had your manuscript for months?
1. Write more. The answer to everything is keep writing. Don’t let the waiting game slow you down. When an agent is interested they’ll want to see what else you’re working on too. So keep writing.
2. Check their guidelines. Most agents say they’ll get back to writers of requested material in 6 weeks to 3 months. But some say 6 months. And some say they’ll only reply if interested. Base your expectations on their actual guidelines.
3. Only follow up once their guidelines timeline is up. Or, if you have an offer or other news to update them with (important blurb, award you’ve won etc).
4. Keep querying. One nibble doesn’t mean you’ve caught a fish. The more lines you cast the better chance you have!
5. Avoid playing games. You’ll waste a lot of unnecessary energy playing games like reading too much into an agent’s social media feed, emailing them to ask about the status of their slush pile, or other things like that. It’s not worth the stress. Remember: no answer means nothing.
Don’t forget: You can always listen to sad music and write angsty poetry or start a funny parody Twitter account. You know, if you’re still feeling melancholy.