Thursday, January 18, 2007

Reader Questions: Response Times

In a blog a while back, I think I read something about response time, in that it may not be a good sign if you don't hear something back quickly.

I'm just wondering how quick do you know a work is something you'd like to represent?

For instance, do you know the second you read the query letter that you aren't interested, or do you sometimes take a little time to think it over before making a decision?

Well, that depends entirely on the query. Honestly? Yes, there are times I know without even reading the full query that it's something I'm going to reject. And then there are times when I read the entire manuscript and am still unsure about what I'm going to do. So there's no real answer to that question. Other than, as always, it depends.

I guess some of us (ok, ME) are just curious to know the breakdown for the response time. (For example, could a letter sit unopened for a couple weeks, then sit around in a "NO THANKS" pile until the rejection letter can be mailed? Or, could someone be taking the time to think about it?)

A letter could sit around for weeks before being tossed in the "no thanks" pile. A letter could be rejected immediately, but sit around for weeks before we get around to sending the "no thanks," and a letter can sit around for weeks (even months) before a request for more is made.

I know that you are all sitting at home trying to figure out what it means. Well stop. A quick response can mean we thought it was crap and didn't bother reading it, it is so wrong for us that the title made us reject it, or that it was so intriguing that we dropped everything to read it. A slow response could mean that it went into our quick read pile that we're now backed up months on, it ended up in our slow read pile because the letter didn't jump out at us, it got placed in the wrong pile altogether, or it's just sitting there waiting for a letter to be sent. In other words, there is no easy way to analyze any of this.



Kate Douglas said...

The visual your post gives is wonderful--I have an image of towering piles of manuscripts leaning precariously over like-wise burdened desks with a pair of eyes and a coffee cup peering out of the pile.

Anonymous said...

Regarding response times, what is about the aveage for your agency? I queried in mid-November by email and have yet to receive a response. Should I resend it, email another agent at your agency, or keep waiting?

Response times vary by so much that I just never know.