From Query to Offer of Representation

I can’t believe Pitch Wars is over. We saw a lot of request for partials and fulls, and agents have offered representation to at least eight mentees so far. Woohoo! Go Pitch Wars clan!

But, all of this made me wonder if the mentees and other querying writers had set their expectations correctly. Are they aware how long it normally takes to get a partial or full request from a query and how long after that would it take to get a rejection or offer of representation? So, I polled my fellow Pitch Wars mentors and Twitter followers to see what their experience has been.

Big mistake.

These guys are rock stars. They don’t represent what we NORMALLY see in this industry. But, because I know you’re curious, I’ll show you the stats.

Thirty-nine agented authors answered. Some have gone through more than one agent, so I added their answers for both. A few only told me how long it took to go from querying to getting THE CALL, so the numbers might seem a little wonky. Just go along with this, okay? ‘Preciate it.

I asked my peeps how long it took them to go from the agent receiving the query to the author getting a request for a full. (Some had received partial requests but eventually got the full request, so I worked with those numbers.)

Query to Full:

Same day: 14
Next day: 2
1 week or less: 12
1 month or less: 8
2 months: 2

TYPICALLY, it takes agents 4-6 weeks to read queries and request more pages.

I also asked the gang how long it took them to go from submitting their full to the agent to receiving THE CALL, where the agent offered representation.

Full to Offer:

Same day: 1
Next day: 5
1 week or less: 7
2 weeks: 8
1 month: 9
2-6 months: 10
7-9 months: 2

NORMALLY, it takes agents 3-6 months to read a full and make the offer of representation.

While these stats are totally awesome sauce, please don’t expect your journey to match any of these time frames. Like I mentioned above, you’re probably looking at 4-6 weeks to hear back after you’ve queried and 3-6 months after you’ve submitted the full. Of course, there are exceptions, as you can see from the stats, but those exceptions go the other way too. Some agents take 6 months or longer to read the query and others take up to a year to read the full.

Make sure you read the agent’s or agency’s website to see when they expect to have queries and fulls read. Many have this information posted and regularly update it. You can also see how fast agents are responding by looking them up on Query Tracker . But, none of this is written in stone. I’ve heard plenty of stories of agents requesting and rejecting far beyond their listed time frame.

So, you just never know. Comforting, right?

All you can do is:
-Stop refreshing your e-mail every five minutes.
-Don’t stalk agents on social media to see if they’re talking about your book. (Okay, you can do this, but don’t watch their Twitter stream all day.)
-Write your next book.
-Write your next book.
-Write your next book.

Was that clear enough? You want to write your next book to keep your sanity, but you also want to do this because an agent might like your writing, just not the manuscript you submitted to her. So, when she asks if you have anything else, you can send this new book over (once it’s all pretty and shiny and stuff.)

Good luck to everyone who is querying. I hope you hook YOUR agent soon.

Lynnette Labelle
2015 Daphne du Maurier Finalist
2015 Molly Winner

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