1. MushroomAnna
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    MushroomAnna New Member

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    Agented Submissions-- how long to wait?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by MushroomAnna, Mar 12, 2013.

    Hello all,

    I've got a question...I am writing a nonfiction manuscript and an agent is representing me. He has submitted the proposal and two sample chapters on my behalf to a university publisher. I am curious if anyone has thoughts on how long I should wait before following up with him about it. The publisher does not list timelines for submission responses on their website, and I am not sure if the "8 weeks to a year" timeline for non-solicited manuscripts applies to agented proposals. Any notions of how long I ought to wait?

    Thanks!
     
  2. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Since you already have the agent, I don't see the harm in asking the agent if he or she has any idea when to expect to hear something from this particular publisher. Then, I'd follow up with a gentle email to the agent every 6-8 weeks (unless he or she specifies a different timeframe) just saying that you wanted to check in and wondered if he'd heard anything or if there was anything else you should do.
     
  3. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    If the agent works for you and is looking ofrward to his commission cheque, I don't know why you can't ring him everyday - it's his job to know when and how frequent to badger the publisher. If he thinks you are calling to often with the same question then obviously its because you haven't got a satisfactory answer and it's his own fault.

    I don't have an agent, I'm just guessing so before you call him 15 times wait for a more experience member to help...
     
  4. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, the agent does work for the writer, but you have to keep a couple things in mind. 1) The agent wants to sell the book and hear back from the publisher as much as you do. He doesn't get paid until you do. 2) Agents are also people. Calling him every 15 minutes and pestering the heck out of him, especially if he's got a call into the publisher and he's essentially at their mercy as to when he'll have more information strikes me as counterproductive. I think the adage "treat others as you'd like to be treated' applies here.

    The agent should have some idea of when he might hear back from the publisher. If that time frame passes and you've heard nothing, I see nothing wrong with checking in and asking for an update. If a significant amount of time elapses, or the agent won't return your calls/emails, and you have reason to suspect that either the agent has abandoned you or can't or won't do his job appropriately, then you could seek other representation. But I don't have the sense from the OP that this is the case, at least not yet.
     
  5. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    exactly Liz - I think the OP is having a problem with the agent. I would ask him out straight - how long till we hear anythin? if he says Friday and you don't hear, you've every right to call Monday
     
  6. MushroomAnna
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    MushroomAnna New Member

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    Thanks!

    Thanks for the input. I figure I should just ask the agent. I guess I am just a little hesitant because I don't want to be a pest, but I'd love to know if he's made any headway.
     
  7. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think there's any problem with asking the agent how long it usually takes to hear back. But pestering the agent, as Chicagoliz noted, is not the way to keep a positive relationship with the person who's working on your behalf. Kinda like knowing your mechanic has ordered the needed parts and then calling them every hour to see if they've arrived. I prefer not to antagonize the people I'm depending on for the important stuff.
     
  8. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Two months is normal to wait for an academic journal. I've waited 4 months before. However, I've usually had a prompt notification of what's going on and which issue the writng is planned for. Ask your agent. Now. He/she is there to deal with things like this--if he/she has definitely taken you on as a client to represent you already have a professional relationship and the agent stands to profit from it, so making contact is not "pestering". It's not the same as constantly contacting an agent who has not agreed to take you on.
     
  9. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think the question comes with what one considers pestering. Finding out what the typical timeline is is not pestering. Checking in with the agent based on that timeline is not pestering. Knowing the timeline (for example, say it's two months) and then emailing the agent every week prior to the two months - that's pestering. I'm also assuming that when discussing the timeline, the agent is not going to say "Two months.", end of discussion. I would assume the conversation would be more along the lines of "Two months, but I'll check back in X time/if we haven't heard by X/check back with me in X". By the end of the discussion, one should have a pretty good idea of when to check back and when it would be pestering.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    pay attention to liz... she's right on all counts...
     
  11. MushroomAnna
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    MushroomAnna New Member

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    10 days or so!

    I took the advice and asked my agent when I should know about the status of the proposal. He replied right away with something that I hope is good news. Initially we decided to approach a university press, due to the limited audience for my subject. However, he let me know he decided to submit to a larger press first. The only funny thing is he said his reasons were complex and he didn't have time to get into them. I am not worried, and I think I might just assume (for my peace of mind) that he's decided that the book has a chance with a more mainstream publisher. One way or the other, he said that both publishers should give an answer within a month of receipt of the proposal. Which means...only 10 more days or so before I may get word about the first one.
     

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