Dear Literary Agent,
I submitted queries to ten different agents over the past few weeks and I have only heard back from one – a rejection. Why have the other nine not responded? Should I consider their lack of response as a rejection, too? Should I call them to follow up?
Holding Out Hope
Dear Holding Out Hope,
Waiting for that fateful email or phone call is hard, isn’t it? I can understand your impatience. Even the busiest writer will find it difficult to lie back and relax when their publishing future is waiting for them out there somewhere.
So why hasn’t the agency responded? There are a few reasons.
- They are flooded with queries. This is more likely than not the case. We get a minimum of 12 queries a day, meaning we have at least 60 queries a week – that’s 3,120 queries a year! And that is just the bare minimum. Many larger agencies will have double or triple that many – maybe more!
- They are not accepting new submissions. This should be indicated on their website.
- You did not follow the submission guidelines. Make sure that you do your research for each agent/agency. Does your book fall into a genre they are looking for? Did you send the query as an attachment (we prefer attachments, other agents won’t open them)?
- Your submission got caught in a spam filter. Less likely, but it happens.
- They are lazy or mean. Also less likely.
What can you do?
- Be patient. Allow at least one month to pass before hassling anyone.
- If you have not heard anything after one month, you can email the agency. You may not get a response, but email is more likely to be replied to than a phone call. If you still do not get a response, let it go. It may seem rude, but you should use this lack of attention as inspiration to seek attention elsewhere.
- Meanwhile, keep pitching your project! We recommend sending it to at least 30 agents – three times the number you have submitted to so far! Do your research and choose agencies that are actively looking for books like yours and have a track record in selling them.
- Keep tweaking – perhaps you need a stronger query letter? Maybe you need to think outside the box when it come to choosing agents.
No matter what, don’t give up! If publishing a book is truly your dream, stay strong and keep doing with it.
We wish you the very best of luck with your book!
Megan Close Zavala and the Team at Keller Media
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