Yes, Agents can be rude nitwits...further examples

Dear Miss Snark:

First of all, thank you for this blog and all the hard work you do. It has been a well needed kick in the pants.

Here is my situation: I am a mother of three small kids (one, three and five) which means that any moment I have to write is a freaking gift from god. That being said, I have been able to write three novels in the last few years. The first was utter dreck, and while it was a good learning experience, it sits in a little box in the back of my closet collecting dust, and likely providing food and shelter for baby mice. The second, a YA novel, was completed two years ago. Last year an agent at - well, I don't know if I'm allowed to mention specific agencies . . . . Let's just say that her name shows up regularly on Publishers Weekly and her agency is
generally considered to be in the range of fancy-pants. Anyway, she requested the full manuscript last March. Last March. Not a word since. I've sent three requests for a status report (and yes, all with SASE's) and no response. To be honest, I don't really mind so much. I hate, hate *hate* the submission process. I find it stressful, mind numbing, and a
dreadful distraction from writing. I wish I had a secretary. The nice thing about the novel being out on an exclusive is that my mind was utterly freed up to write a third book, a mystery this time. I am still tightening it up, but I have to say that I am rather proud of it.

So here are my questions.
1. Do I assume that the agent is going to pass on the novel?

2. Do I write to the agent and let her know that I have completed a second novel?

3. Do I simply write to her, retracting the novel and commence the soul-crushing process of agent research and submission?

4. When submitting new queries, do I query each novel individually, in which case, what happens in the ever-so-unlikely event that different agents say yes to different projects? Can someone have more than one?

5. Should I contact the original agent and let her know that I will be in NYC for the pitch-and-shop conference, and perhaps I should stop by? Is that even done? Sometimes I imagine agents to be like exotic birds found in the wild. Easily startled. No sudden movements. Back away slowly, for god's sake, or they'll disappear forever.

1. The hell with whether the agent is going to pass-YOU are going to pass on having her represent you. I don't care how fancy her britches are, failure to respond to status requests for a year is rude. You may quote me. In fact, print this out and mail it to her and say "this is about you" with Miss Snark's compliments.

2. No

3. Yes. Only you do not think of the agent search process as negative. You adjust your attitude so that it's not something you hate so much you make bad choices like you did with FancyPants. The process is the process, but how you choose to think about it can change.

Every single time you think "oh man I hate doing this" you stop yourself and refocus. You'll need a phrase to remind yourself to think of this differently. Figure out what works for you, but it's along the lines of "finding an agent is looking for someone to champion my work and help me achieve my goals. It's worth doing well, and with positive energy." And you say that every single time you snarl at yourself, and you'll be surprised how much better you feel.

4. Yes, no.

5. no. NO. Really really no. Besides, you don't want her for an agent. You want someone who recognizes your value and treats you with respect.


Anonymous said...

After that first status query (which should be sent after,say,three months of the agent having the full manuscript), and no reply within another month, I'd be querying other agents.

Anonymous said...

The more you query, the easier it gets. I promise.

Reggie said...
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