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Is silence the new no?

An agent requested my manuscript back in September. After three months of silence I decided to send a brief chase up email. Two weeks later, and still no reply, I sent a second email. Another two weeks have passed and there is just silence. I’m a bit surprised, in the past she has always been quick to reply. Should I assume that this silence is the new no or should I chase her up with a phone call?

Asked by: NAthan Renard

  1. Amy Mager on March 13, 2019

    Silence is the new no in all industries. Even applying for a normal job they don't bother to send out a standard email to say "thank you for applying but the position has been taken".

    Its the effect of the overcrowded scene and technological age. Agents get thousands of manuscripts a day and therefore do not send thousands of emails out a day.

    But always keep trying and like Alison said - send to multiple agents at a time, then if you get interest, you can send to the agents you've already sent to, to let them know you've had interest. They like to know if other people have taken interest in your work so its good to tell them.

    It may take 6 months for someone to get back to you in some cases, so keep getting on with your submissions and your work, and updating your cover letters. Keep going xx

  2. Alison Lester on February 12, 2019

    It's so much easier when agents list in their submission guidelines how long before we must give up hope. In my current search, the longest any agency lists hopeful clients should wait before understanding that it's a no is 3 months.

    I hope that you're submitting to quite a lot of agents, as the wait can be very long, and if you only submit to one at a time, the end-to-end waits can means years!

    Best wishes!

  3. Ian Plenderleith on February 12, 2019

    Long silence from an agent rarely means good news. When they get back in touch they will say that things have been hectic because of the London Book Fair or the Frankfurt Book Fair or the Kuala Lumpur Book Fair, or it's not been possible to send your work out because of the pre-Xmas party period or the quiet summer period when no one's apparently around. Or they might just say, "I may not be the right agent to represent your work, I'm sorry it took me six months to tell you this."

  4. Edward Richardson on February 7, 2019

    Make that phone call...

    Give someone (even an agent) the benefit of the doubt - they may have been ill or away from work for some other reason. Be polite when you call, remember that in this instance the agent has the upper hand.

    If you cannot make any form of contact, send a letter, an e-mail, and a text, saying unless you hear within a specified period you will offer your manuscript elsewhere.

    Of course I appreciate by the time you read this you may already have received a reply from your agent.


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