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Traditional Publishing (PART 7): Response Time


Now comes the waiting game. Once you have sent out your queries, it’s all you can do.

Some agents will respond to you overnight; others will take months to respond; some never will.

It’s standard to write a follow-up email if you have not heard from an agent in a certain amount of time. Again, all agents are different and all response times will vary. Some agents may say, “If you have not heard back after four-to-six weeks, consider it a pass.” Others will say, “If you have not heard back after four-to-six weeks, feel free to follow up,” or “If you do not have a response, I am still considering. I reply to all queries.”

If an agent does not mention any of these, it is safe to write a follow-up email (as a reply to your earlier email) at the three month mark.


If you receive a partial or full request—congratulations! Cue the nail biting. If you’ve received this, be sure to send your best shot. If you need to take a few days to review your work for any last minute typos—don’t stress it. Agents want you to send your most polished manuscript. At the same time, really, don’t stress it! You’re human and your draft is sure to have a few mistakes. Remember, too, that in-house editors exist for a reason!

Once you’ve sent out your full or partial manuscript, expect to wait longer as, naturally, there is more material for the agent to read. It is industry standard to follow up on a partial/full request after six months (unless that agent has stated otherwise).


If on the off chance you have the opportunity to pitch to an editor and that editor requests material, expect to wait even longer. While most agents might respond in two-to-four months, editors (and well-known agents) may take anywhere from six-to-twelve months to respond.


Traditional Publishing Blogs

PART 7: Response Time

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