This post is for all my fellow writers and is part of my new LiGHT WRiTE BiZ series of posts and resources, aimed at helping other writers navigating the publishing industry by providing some of my own tried-and-true tips and resources. Make sure you subscribe so that you never miss a post!

If you’ve queried for long, you will hear about “the nudge”: when you reach out to an editor or agent who has your work as a reminder and hopefully spur a response. 

With agents and editors adding more and more to their plates , it’s easy for things to—innocently—fall through the cracks and get lost in the shuffle. And that is where the nudge comes in.

When done well, it can be a powerful tool: 

  • I have used it multiple times to (at least try to) prompt responses from agents. Twice, both agents promptly followed up, apologized for the delay and made plans for next steps. 
  • Another caveat: Both of these agents who I nudged who did get back to me ended up, eventually, both being passes. However, they were both incredibly kind and encouraging when those passes eventually made their way. I personally don’t think that the nudge influenced that—and it would have been that result with or without the nudge. The nudge just helped me know about it sooner.
  • (Notably, the other two agents I’ve nudged never responded at all, so I marked them both as CNR: closed no response.) 

When you do nudge, you want to keep a few things in mind:

  • You can “nudge” queries you have in the slush pile (and I did with one agent who specifically said to nudge if she hadn’t responded in a certain amount of time), but it is generally reserved for those who have requested “fulls” or more material.
  • The industry standard is to wait 3 months to nudge. Make sure you check their website to see if they provide any different timelines.
  • Remind them of your story and any details about how they requested it (ie, from a pitch contest)
  • Be brief. Their time is valuable.
  • In fact, acknowledge that you know that!
  • Then tell them how much you appreciate them getting back to you because (yep!) you recognize that their time is so valuable.

But if you’re like I was, while those rules were helpful, I wanted to know: What should I say in a nudge to an agent? What are the exact words I should use in my email actually?

I’ve created a FREE download with two of the ACTUAL word-for-word nudges I’ve used with different agents in the past. You are welcome to use these as templates when you need to nudge an agent or editor. And if you do, I’d love to know and hear how it goes!

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