Monday, September 12, 2011
One of the perennial topics of discussion in the literaryosphere surfaced this past week: The no response means no policy on queries.
On the one hand agent Rachelle Gardner discussed the reasons for her no-response-means-no policy (though she often will respond, just not always), and Janet Reid explained why she responds to everyone.
When I was an agent I responded to everyone, but it was by no means an easy task, and sometimes in retrospect I wonder if I really should have had that policy. But regardless of which policy agents pursue, I still maintain that agents don't owe authors a response. I know it's frustrating as an author to send queries into the ether, but agents have every right to set their own submission policy, and if an authors doesn't agree with it they are more than welcome to query someone whose policy they prefer.
That, ultimately, was one of the main reasons I had a always-respond policy. Like Janet Reid I hoped people would look kindly on that and give me first shot at their projects. But it was by no means easy to maintain, and I certainly would never pass judgment on agents with a different policy.
What do you think? Should agents respond to everyone or is it too much to ask? Do you check an agent's response policy before deciding who to query?