I got this question recently:

“I’ve recently submitted 100 query letters to production companies and am just wondering how long should I wait for me to decide to work on my query or my next wave? Also I live in the U.K, is this a disadvantage, especially when my script is high budget?  It’s been about 2 months and have received around 10 saying they won’t read any material.”

Nearly all the query letters I’ve sent I’ve done so while living in Los Angeles so I don’t know exactly how much of a disadvantage it is to live outside of L.A.  However, if you read my blog you’ll know that I’m a big proponent of moving to Los Angeles if you’re serious about becoming a screenwriter.  Many people have sold scripts while living outside of L.A., however many more have sold scripts while living in L.A.

It sounds to me like you need to go back and rework your query letter and synopsis.  Unless you did something strange like only target large well-known production companies, if your query letter and synopsis were good you should have gotten at least a few responses.  In fact, a writer contacted me a few weeks ago who had sent out query letters from Canada and she got 4 responses out of 100 query letters.  (https://www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/screenwriting-faq/query-letter-responses/)  I doubt there is a huge difference in terms of living in the U.K. verse living in Canada so it sounds to me like you need to work more on your query letter and synopsis.

Two months is way too long to wait.  I assume you put your email address in your query letter, correct?  If so, in most cases you’ll hear back within a few days, a week at the longest, and after that you’ll rarely hear anything from a query letter.  So if you faxed or emailed your query letter I would say a week is about all you need to wait to know if you’re campaign has succeeded or not.  If you used regular mail to send your query letter just add on the transit time for the letter to get to L.A.

7 thoughts on “How long should you wait after sending out your screenplay query letter?”
  1. I’m in the process of sending out queries (as much as possible) and I live in Germany. I was told it’s no prob to live outside the US as long as you put a SASE in. I’m not quite sure about it… I’ll have to sit and wait : (

    1. Sarah;

      Just make sure you put an email address in your query letter, too. In this day and age most producers will simply send you an email requesting the script if they like your pitch.


  2. Hey Ashley,

    Thank you for all the great tips and advice you provide through your website. I’m a writer/director living in Toronto who’s currently working towards sell my screenplay. Your article “Selling Your Screenplay(in a nutshell) is excellent!

    Thanks again for this website,


    1. I second that! Before I found this website, writing a screenplay was only a fantasy! I have so many ideas rolling around in my head it feels great to at least get some of them down on paper.

  3. Just an related anecdote: I sent a few queries via an online website that I had to pay for which guarantees a response from the producers, even if it’s just one word. I did get the responses which was immediately satisfying and I had one producer interested in reading the script. I sent this script in July and followed up 4 weeks later. No response. I figured he didn’t like the script. I decided a couple of days ago on the offchance to ask him if he’d like to read a rewrite. He replied saying he hadn’t got round to reading my first one yet and please send the rewrite through instead. I was so happy knowing he hadn’t read it instead of reading it and not liking it…warped I know. But my point is, sometimes they show interest months later. 🙂

    1. Kristi;

      This is a good point. Thank you for telling us about your experience. I’ve said numerous times on this blog that I think making a phone call to a production company is probably a great way to make contacts (either while pitching or following up after you’ve sent in your script) but I know for myself I’m not good at cold calling people so I’ve never done this. But I think you should.

      My main point with this blog post is that after you send out query letters 99% of your responses will come in within a week (if you used email or fax) or two (two weeks if you mailed your query letter and you live well outside of Los Angeles). After that you might get an occasional response but you’ll have the bulk of your responses within a couple of weeks so you’ll know if your query letter campaign was successful or not pretty quickly.

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