I have to say that these agents are very courteous when they do come back to you with a no. Agent #3 came back several hours after I sent off my query and said:
“Thanks so much for sending your query – I appreciate the chance to take a look at your project. I’m sorry to say, though, that I’m going to step aside instead of asking to read more. Please bear in mind that everybody has different tastes and interests – my decision is based on my present work-load, and also based on the kind of material that I’m presently representing.
That said, keep in mind that this is a crazily subjective business: I absolutely think you should keep looking for representation because what works for one agent (or publisher) may not work as well for another. I’m afraid, though, that I cannot recommend someone for it.
Very best of luck!”
Given the what-must-be overwhelming volume of queries they must receive each week, it must be a huge job reading and replying to them all. That’s probably why God invented personal assistants. No doubt it’s a necessary evil for a job that hopes to find a sparkling gem hidden among the cut glass that must constantly wobble across their desk like bad pennies on the Titanic.