Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Checking on Status – When is it okay?

You’ve submitted a partial to an agent and now you’re waiting to hear back with a reply…when do you email for status? Don’t be the person who waits a week, can’t take it, and starts to hound the agent. If they said they’ll review your work…they will. Give it time. (Unless you get an offer of representation, then that’s a whole ‘nother story which I’ll talk about tomorrow.) So, when can you check on status?

Query – Never. You may think it’s polite to call and make sure the agent received your query or to check in after a couple months…but it’s not. If you don’t receive an email it’s a rejection. Sorry, but thems the facts.

Partial or Full – Most agents will tell you their response time when they request a partial or full. This is usually between 6 – 8 weeks. In my experience, agents overestimate…if an agent likes your query, they’ll review your partial within a few weeks and your full within a month, but that’s just what happened to me. You have to wait the amount of time the agent has told you before you should check on status.

After the appropriate amount of time, send off a quick email.

Dear so and so, you requested a partial of my manuscript blah blah blah, which I sent to you on such and such a date. I know you’re extremely busy, but I would like to check on the status of my submission. Thank you for your time.

You want to keep it professional and not sound whiny. Agents are very busy, but they’re generally not jerks. If you ask nicely they’ll reply with a new estimate of how long it will take them to read your work. There’s nothing wrong with sending them a little reminder, after the appropriate amount of time.


  1. I'm just about to the point where I'll start submitting again and this will be very useful info.

    Thanks for taking the time to share your wisdom.

  2. I do a query critique as well, if you're interested. It always helps to have a second opinion.

  3. I haven't gotten to this point yet with my work in progress; good advice.

    I just followed you in from JEFritz' blog; I've got you on follow now.

  4. Hey there! Just wanted to make sure the comment thing was working out for you! :)

    Have a great week!

  5. Good advice, succinctly stated. Thanks.