I read all 200+ comments of the Agentfail thread on BookEnds last night, and… wow. Sooo much anger out there. To be sure there are some constructive comments in there, and I always like those, but for the most part it unleashed a vast fount of angst. So much you could bottle it up and sell it to those crazy people who fight in mesh cages.
The biggest, most common complaint is about agents who don’t respond to queries or have a “we’ll respond if interested” policy.
Now, again, this doesn’t affect me personally. My policy is to respond to all queries, usually within 24 hours, and I almost always respond to partials within two weeks and fulls within a month. If you send me a personalized query that follows my blog suggestions and it’s not for me I’ll send you a personalized rejection. I always respond to my clients within 24 hours and I try to turn around comments on my client’s manuscripts within a week.
I certainly HOPE that my query and response policies make you want to work with me and that you’ll query me instead of someone who doesn’t respond. I’m building my list and I want new clients.
But if an agent has a no-response policy, chances are they aren’t actively looking to build their list. Or they have enough on their plate already. They aren’t looking to open the floodgates. And they’re not subhuman for having this policy. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: writing a manuscript does not buy you a prospective agent’s time.
If you don’t like their policy, by all means, don’t query them if you don’t want to. Just…. don’t get mad about it. It’s like being mad at oxygen.
I understand that the publishing process can be frustrating and that the people who really ranted in that post are in the minority, and that these responses were all requested. But I just wonder if we could all get along and stay constructive instead of turning agents into pinatas.