I've been out of it for the past few weeks (life stuff is stressing me out big time), but I've heard there are some things going around on the internets about whether an agent has a responsibility to respond to each query he or she receives. So, my brief thoughts.
1. Agents are busy people. Many queries they receive are (to say it politely) just slightly unhinged. Not to mention the hordes who don't read instructions, who query on projects outside of what the agent represents, who can't spell to save their lives.... The list goes on.
2. I don't believe that agents have an absolute responsibility to reply individually to each query they receive. Given that some bigger agencies receive hundreds of queries per agent, per day, I don't think it's feasible. It would be nice...but I think there are better ways for agents to be spending their time.
3. However, I do feel that if an agency has a "no response means no" policy, they do have a responsibility to have an auto-response indicating receipt. Color me slightly unhinged myself (and let's face it, what writer isn't?), but I'm just neurotic enough to bite my nails for six weeks straight worrying that my query was eaten by a spam filter. An auto-response means that after six weeks I can accept the rejection and move on, rather than tearing my hair out wondering if maybe, just maybe, my query wasn't received (and should therefore be re-sent).
So, thoughts. Now I'm out. Maybe next week I'll have fought my way out of the stress-monster.