Shannon Stacey

No response equals no thanks

Today is #queryday on Twitter, so I asked the question I’ve been mulling over since #agentfail:

Q: Is ‘no response=no thx’ the new reality or an urban myth begun by writers who slipped through the cracks?

Apparently, and unfortunately, NR=NT is not an urban myth. Upon reading the answers, I’ll admit I performed a rather spectacular flounce. (Privately, of course, in my office, with my fingers NOT on the keyboard.) With some agencies racking up six to twelve+ month response times, how are we supposed to know what’s what? Is the rejection implied or is it sitting under the pizza box, still under a lengthy consideration?

Do we blame the agents? Really, how hard is it to type in an email address, c&p a form rejection, and hit send? I wonder how long my husband would be in business if we took six months to review plans, draft electrical prints, work up proposals and respond to contractors and homeowners? Ha! Not long.

Or do we blame the hundreds of writers who submitted the queries we saw during #queryfail and will see during #queryday? Hundreds of queries for 600,000 word epics and too thinly-veiled fan fic and other wildly inappropriate or downright ridiculous submissions that clog up the works?

It’s a tough thing to wrap my head around. On the one hand, I don’t think a form response is too much to ask of a professional agent. On the other hand, they’re dealing with countless writers who aren’t even in the ballpark of professional. Obviously authors who do their homework and know what’s what are going to pay the price for those who skipped class.

To wrap it up, I think no response=no thanks sucks golf balls. It’s a confusing and unfortunate policy thrown into an already tough environment.

I’m going to blame the guy hawking the 783,395 word biography of his dead-grandmother-channeling gerbil.

3 comments to “No response equals no thanks”

  1. Charlene
      · April 17th, 2009 at 10:31 am · Link

    It sucks, but I can’t say I blame them, given the sheer volume of queries they wade through. Just consider the cost of postage, let alone time to compose replies, stuff envelopes, etc. E-queries save you $ on replies, but it still takes somebody’s time to send the response…and then you open the door to the questions of why, and would you reconsider if X, or even the outright abuse so many are subjected to for sending the polite “no thanks”. The workaround to that would be a send-only account you couldn’t reply to, but it’s still a lot of work to go through to say no.

  2. Portia Da Costa
      · April 17th, 2009 at 10:35 am · Link

    Yeah, better to know that it’s a ‘no’ rather than be left in limbo, wondering and wondering. Then you can move on.

    Just a preprinted slip in the SAE would give closure.

    Have had this with editors too. A couple of subs, to two different editors, sitting there years with no response, and no reply to agent’s follow up queries.

  3. Kwana
      · April 20th, 2009 at 10:01 am · Link

    Great question. Thanks for clearing that up. Sad but good to know.

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