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Handling a Referral

I sent a query, synopsis and 10 pages to a popular agent who is no reply = no. Two weeks later, I received an amazingly sweet letter in which she gave compliments, made suggestions and then told me she’d already sent an email to a colleague of hers (the VP of their agency) and really thought she’d like it so would I send it to the colleague as well, with the referring agent’s name in the subject header. Firstly, wow – because this was based on the 10 pages and synopsis, which I know because she referred to plot points. That was in [6-8 weeks ago]. My first assumption is that a referral will at least garner a rejection letter, even from an agency that doesn’t reply if not interested. (Is this a bad assumption?) I don’t intend to nudge, since it’s just a query, but I also think it was awesome for the first agent to go through the trouble and would hate to not be diligent about the opportunity she sort of created. After getting writer feedback that insists I should nudge, I thought I’d better ask an agent (I trust). 🙂

This is really exciting. Congratulations!

According to the dates you are giving me the agent has had the material, which I assume is a full manuscript, for 6-8 weeks. At this point you’re probably on the early edge of hearing back on a full submission, even if the material was requested. My suggestion is give it about 10 weeks or so (while some agents are really fast, it’s not uncommon for agents to take an average of three months to respond to full submissions), and then I would send an email to check the status.

I agree that you should definitely receive a response on requested material, but I don’t have insight to this agency’s exact policy either.

Jessica

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2 comments

  1. It is pretty clear in the question that this is NOT a full manuscript, it is a query. Does that change your answer?

    To the person who asked the question: I had this happen to me with an agent. First agent read the full and bowed out, said to query agent #2 with clear note about this being a referral. I was so excited. My assumption was that a referral would carry some weight but I never heard back from agent #2. It was very disappointing. My advice: keep querying other agents.

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