When an Agent Loses Your Pages…

Q. Perhaps it is the influence of the instant age of communication, but I would have assumed sending a synopsis and pages to an agent who says they want your work (at least to consider it), I must confess I am rather surprised it takes as long as it used to back in the days of snail mail and sending an entire manuscript in terms of hearing a response. 
        Worse still, this agent (who shall not be named) in question seems to act as if she can’t find said pages.  I understand it is possible to receive hundreds of writers’ pages, but I would think there would be some plan in action for keeping track. 
        Am I expecting more than I should?  I don’t wish to flood the agent’s inbox with more questions than necessary about my pages, but I am at a place – having held on to some of my writing for decades – where I just want to get on with it!  And to be honest, your (28 Agents) article gave me hope.  It released the fear and made the choice small enough for me to navigate and decide then act upon.  Am I being ridiculous?  Be honest.
        – Teresa

A. Yeah, it’s a slow process, Teresa.  Let me try to answer all your questions.
       Concerning how quickly you can hear a response, the age of electronic communication is helping for quicker replies, but does not guarantee one, if that makes sense.  Plenty of agents still request 6-8 weeks before you even hear back on a query.  Now, concerning how this agent can’t find the pages you sent, you have two options.  You can simply resubmit the pages and say “Here they are again – it’s no big deal to resubmit them.”  Or you can ditch this agent and simply move on.  Yes, she should have a system in place to track queries and pages – but if you’ve ever seen an editor’s desk or an agent’s desk, it’s never pretty. 
       My best advice to you is not to flood her inbox with questions about your pages, but to just write and say “No problem, let me just resubmit,” and then do so.

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2 thoughts on “When an Agent Loses Your Pages…

  1. Rachelle

    Chuck & Teresa,

    Just my two cents from the POV of an agent. The electronic age has simplified things in many ways, but it hasn’t done anything to speed up responses unless it’s a quick "no" you’re looking for. In fact, it has made the response time even longer as far as I can tell, because electronic submissions have increased the total number of submissions, increasing the number of "partials" I request, lengthening the amount of time it takes me to get to them, read them, make a decision, and respond.

    No matter what the electronic age has done, the one thing it HASN’T accomplished is adding more hours to my day, or make me able to read submissions any faster. The truth is that most agents have a considerable backlog of things waiting to be read. It just takes time to consider everything.

    As far as an agent losing the pages, well, agents are human. I rarely lose anything, but it’s always possible to inadvertently delete an email when attempting to move it to the appropriate folder. There’s nothing wrong with resubmitting.

    Just wanted to give my perspective!