I was checking back in my “Sent” mail folder to see the dates I sent queries to various agencies, just to gauge if I’m coming closer to their average timeline for responding, and discovered that it’s been a bit over four weeks since I queried one agency that apparently only responds if they’re interested. In better news, I discovered that another agency I queried two days later happened to lose about 5,000 e-queries on that very day, and that they’re asking anyone who hasn’t heard back within two to three weeks of that day to send it again in case it was one of the ones that accidentally got deleted.
I understand that some agencies are busier or more popular than others, and that they take longer to get back to people than other agencies which are smaller or more personalized. But the least they could do is to send a polite form rejection at the end of those four weeks. Silence is the world’s saddest, loudest, most painful sound. It is the resultant sound when people fail to communicate with one another. The least one could do is acknowledge the time and effort someone put in when s/he contacted an agency, even if the query didn’t interest the agent personally. Hearing nothing back is worse than a form rejection that doesn’t give specific, concrete reasons for the lack of interest in pursuing a project. It also seems kind of rude, like you can’t take one minute out of your day to at least say “Thanks, but no thanks.”
Perhaps I scared the agent away because this was one of my earliest queries, when I was still stating the 397,000 word count instead of giving the three separate word counts of Parts I and II combined, Part III, and Part IV plus the Epilogue, which may constitute three books of a trilogy instead of one separate but very long book. I did though say I was open to breaking it into several books, and noted that I’d seen that one of her interests was a series for young adults, not featuring the ubiquitous Vampyre trend. Oh well. I’m never gonna apologize for being a wordy writer when I need to be, since a book should be as long as it needs to be to tell a story properly all of the way through. Some books only need 150-300 pages; other books need 500-700 pages; and still other books are so epic they need up to a thousand pages or more. This means I’ve got six rejections down, with seven more responses to go from this first batch of queries (which I didn’t all send out on the same day; I’ve been sending them out over the course of about a month).
I’m certainly not expecting a personalized response when I’m a complete stranger to an agent and s/he hasn’t even taken the step of requesting a partial or full, but at least it’s basic good manners and politeness to let one know one has been declined as a potential client. Answering back with only silence is worse, no matter how busy you are. It’s a common courtesy, not a huge inconvenience in your busy day.