Writing agent nudges

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During the query stage, there are many reasons you might need to nudge an agent, from the traditional (they've had your full for 6 months) to the less traditional (you'd like to send them a revised manuscript), to the wonderful (you have an offer). I actually had some odd situations pop up during my time in the trenches, and I had critique partners also experience some unique reasons to nudge. When the time came to nudge, I looked for advice/guides/samples of what I should write--no one wants to seem like a jackass to an agent... and I didn't find them that readily.

So here are some options.

THE STANDARD NUDGE

This is the nudge you send when an agent has had either your partial or full for a reasonable amount of time and you have not heard back. Three months is standard wait for a partial, and for fulls it's appropriate to nudge between three and six months (or more). Some agents specify when you should nudge them--note their guidelines and follow.

Subject line [OPTIONAL]: add FOLLOW UP or (Follow-up) to the subject line of your original email chain

Dear agent,

SCENARIO 1: I saw on your website/blog/Twitter that you are caught up on requested material up to [DATE]. I sent my partial/full on [DATE] and have not heard back. I wanted to check in with you. If you are still considering it, great! Or, in the event my original email went astray, I would be happy to resend my material.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

SCENARIO 2: I sent my partial/full on [DATE], and have not heard back from you. I just wanted to check in. If you are still considering it, great! Or, in the event my original email went astray, I would be happy to resend my material.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

THE NEW QUERY/NEW FIRST PAGES NUDGE

Use this one sparingly, as well. If an agent is known as a "no response means no" agent and you never heard back... honestly you could probably send them your totally revised query & first pages and they will never know you are resubmitting. So in that case, it's not a nudge... just requery them (though I would air on the side of not doing this *shrugs*). However, if your query and first pages have been with an agent for some time and you know that they either a) respond to all queries or b) they actively maintain a "maybe" pile, it might be appropriate to nudge them. I would only do this if you, seriously, have completely reworked your query/first pages/manuscript.

Subject line [OPTIONAL]: add FOLLOW UP or (Follow-up) to the subject line of your original email chain

Dear agent,

SCENARIO 1: I sent a query on DATE for BOOK but haven't yet heard back. Since you typically respond to all queries, I wanted to check in and make sure you had received it. If you're still considering, great!

SCENARIO 2: I have recently significantly revised my query and first pages, and wanted to send them along, in the event you are still considering BOOK.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

[RARE] SCENARIO 3*: I have recently significantly revised my query and first pages. OTHER AGENT NAME suggested to me that this manuscript might be right up your alley, so I wanted to take the opportunity to touch base and send along my revised material.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

* This happened to a CP. She was referred to an agent she had already queried, but had since done major revisions to the query/pages, so she followed-up to mention the agent referral/revisions.

THE REVISED MANUSCRIPT NUDGE

This is a non-standard nudge situation, and one I recommend you use sparingly. It's annoying to an agent to receive your ms and then a few weeks later you send a revised one. I recommend you do this if you've made significant revisions *for another agent*. That will carry more weight than "I can't stop tinkering with my manuscript and I probably sent you a sub-standard version originally." And then don't do it again--you usually get one shot with sending an agent your revised manuscript. I sent this nudge to an agent, post an R&R for another agent.

Subject line [OPTIONAL]: add FOLLOW UP or (Follow-up) to the subject line of your original email chain (either the query or the submitted materials chain)

Dear agent,

Recently, another agent sent me a revise & resubmit request for my manuscript. She/he recommended THINGS THEY ASKED YOU TO CHANGE THAT YOU CHANGED. After a thorough revision, THINGS THAT MAKE THIS VERSION QUITE DIFFERENT THAT MIGHT PIQUE THEIR INTEREST*.

I know you are incredibly busy, but just in case you are able to read the revision instead of the original manuscript, I have attached the new file. I really appreciate your time and consideration and will completely understand if you have already read the manuscript I sent previously.

*example: I totally changed my ending in a revision, and also added more kissing... so I felt those were relevant details to mention :)

It's very important to be humble and non-demanding. The agent has every right to be like "nope!" Be nice, gracious... and seriously only do this once.

THE OFFER OF REPRESENTATION NUDGE

This is the best nudge! You should send this nudge when an agent offers you representation. You should reach out to all agents that have either a partial or full of your novel, as well as those queries that are still outstanding... if you want. I would recommend nudging agents that have your query who are known to respond to all queries or have a "maybe" pile. Personally, I did not nudge the few agents that had a "no response means no" policy, when a reasonable amount of time had passed (3+ months).

Subject line: add OFFER OF REPRESENTATION or (Offer of rep) to the subject line of your original email chain, or if an agent requests follow-ups/offers of rep go to a new email address, start a fresh email with OFFER OF REPRESENTATION: BOOK TITLE (your name), and then I would c&p your original query below your signature to refresh them.

Dear agent,

I wanted to let you know that I've received an offer from an agent. I have not yet responded to the offer, but as a courtesy to the offering agent, I would love to do so by DATE 10 DAYS TO 2 WEEKS IN THE FUTURE.

Scenario 1: Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Scenario 2*: The agent offered on a revised version of the manuscript, different from the one I previously sent to you. I've attached that version, in case you would prefer to read it.

I look forward to hearing from you.

*Scenario 2 was relevant to me the first time around, as by the time I had an offer and was nudging, the agents that had my full had an outdated version by one or two revisions. So instead of sending them my revised manuscript with a previous, standalone nudge, I waited until I had an offer and I knew that that this version was THE version. This may not be possible if you did an exclusive revision, however.

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