Why didn't the fellow just reject my butt?"

Dear Miss Snark,

I queried a top NYC agent and included the first 3 chapters of my suspense novel. Within 2 wks he replied with excitement that I should send the entire ms. I did. 8 wks later, I asked how things were going. He said he would get back to me. 6 months I queried for a progress report. He emailed back that he needed another week. 12 months
later I requested my ms back. Da nada.

I called, left a pleasant message on his answering machine, something to the effort of time passed & if he wasn't interested, could he pls use the postage included in my kit to mail my ms
back. Da nada.

I've long since moved on & am now waiting on another agent who requested my ms. I gave this agent an exclusive read. It's only been 2 wks, so there's still a chance he's a winner.

Apart from OD'ing on TUMS, I realize there's nothing I can do about the first guy, but I can't let it go. I've gone thru 2 agents who were quick to sign me, then promptly spent the next 2 yrs ignoring me. How does one stop themselves from going insane?

My question is "Why didn't the fellow just reject my butt?"

You have a nice ass?

Recently I called an editor to follow up on a ms she'd had for donkey's years. Ok, months, but same diff. I'd emailed her a couple times with a perky little "checking in!!!" kind of thing with some comment about a recent buy she'd made. Nada zilcho silencio.

Finally I called her.

"oh," she said, "yes of course, you've been emailing me about that, well I can't find it."

Insert sound of me slamming my face into the computer monitor. It takes all my strength and resolve not to SCREAM "why didn you just tell me; I would have sent another one over".

It gets better.

I don't scream, the convo continues, I tell her about this ms. It's clearly wrong for her after we get talking. I say so, she agrees. Here's the fun part: another editor at her company had told me to send the ms to her.

The only thing that explains this logically is that when she couldn't find this, she was a touch embarrassed, then got caught up doing other things and forgot about it.

My guess is that's what happened to you. Agent NeedsANanny forgot, now he's totally embarrassed, and how do most of us deal with that? You got it: ignoring the email.

It's not personal. It just happens. Think of it this way: the only stories people really want to hear in the bar at writing conferences are the horrible ones. If you have none, you don't get to be the center of attention ever. This poorly organized, cretinous excuse for an agent has done you a favor. I think you should thank him in the acknowledgments.

As to how to avoid them, I don't know. If I did I'd bottle it and make zillions. My best advice is to look at his client list, contact a couple of authors and look at how long they've been with him.


the green ray said...

Miss Snark, I really enjoyed this. I have a similar situation going with an agent who originally wanted an exclusive, which I couldn't offer. He said to send it anyway, and he's now ignoring my emails. It's been about 5 months. I know one of his clients who emailed me saying, "Oh yeah, Blank takes forever." Well, I don't want an agent who takes forever, and I've decided to move on. Thanks for the dish, as always.

kathie said...

Tums??? My God, take the bridge! Kidding, of course. I know this is all part of the game, but I feel for this person. Being drawn to this field to the point of this is crazyness...which is why getting there is such an incredible achievement that people's eyes glaze over when you tell them you've published a book. Not that I have. Yet. But the bridge is handy. Just eight streets and some railroad tracks below my house...
Hang in there, your stuff must be good.

Anonymous said...

Miss Snark,

If you send a manuscript to an editor at one house and she doesn't respond within six months despite repeated "checking in" emails and phone calls, do you feel it's okay for you to re-send it to another editor on the same staff without telling the first editor (who is incommunicado anyway), or is that bad form on the agent's part?

An agent wants to know.

And why in the hell do editors think it's okay not to return phone calls!?! This happens to so many of agent colleagues I know, but it hasn't always been this way.

Where is Ms. Baldridge when you need her most....

Eva said...

Miss Snark,
I like the idea of taking a negative experience and turning it into something positive.

Anonymous said...

I had one agent take a year before he confessed that he had lost my full manuscript, and another one took seven months over a partial before I withdrew it. (She just dropped off the face of the earth. At least one of her clients, a steady earner with nearly 20 published books to her name, couldn't find her either.)

I just wish someone would tell me whether or not this kind of nonresponse is the new SOP.