3.25.2006

The Manuscript Line

Miss Snark:

If an unagented author sends something to a publisher on his own and the publisher sends an email to this writer saying "I read your work, and I want to talk to you about it, but I'm going on holidays and I'll speak to you about it when I get back," what advice would you give that author.

(Outside of the obvious, "Get a life a-hole. You can't sit and ponder what the editor wants to say for an entire two weeks. You must go to work. Eat. Sleep. And inhale copious amounts of gin. Even though said author hates gin and would prefer to smoke like an addicted fiend even though he quit that nasty habit years ago)

Does this warrant mustering up an agent? Do editors call to talk about revisions? Should I say to hell with my health, my breath and my son's asthma and buy that pack of cigarettes? Should I just do nothing and wait and see. Oh Lord.

Yours in admiration.

Going crazy in Cincinnati.




We on the other side of the Manuscript Line forget what it's like over there where you are. It's so usual to get a call like this from an editor cause they'll clear their desk before a break, fire off an email saying "let's do lunch when I get back and we'll talk about that novella of haikus" that agents don't think anything about it. We calender the item (yes I know calender is not supposed to be a verb, but it is used as one here), and go on. It's easy to go on, cause no matter how much in love with the project we are, it's one of many, and we've got a lot of other things to do.

You on the other side of the Manuscript Line have one project, and probably not much else to obsess about in your writing career right now. However, hacking up a lung is not a good career move, so ashcan the cigs idea, save your lungs, and take up long distance running.

It's entirely impossible to predict what the editor wants. The only thing to do is hang out and wait. Work on the other projects you've got, or better yet, do a close analysis of a book you love. You just need to turn off that ADD hamster running his wheel in your brain.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I thought you needed an agent first as most decent sized publishers no longer accept queries or manuscripts?

Anonymous said...

Well, here's your competition idea, walked right in off the street! What does the publisher want to say to the author? Closest guess in two weeks wins...

Jenna Black said...

Wow! I sympathize with you. Before I sold my first book, I remember the day my agent left me a message to call her and I couldn't get through for hours. My ADD hamster drank a whole pot of coffee with a No-Doz chaser. (It turned out it wasn't "The Call" that time.)

By only advice (aside from "do everything Miss Snark says") is to remember to breathe. Good luck!

kathie said...

Can't wait to hear your great news...keep us posted.

Anonymous said...

...turn off that ADD hamster running his wheel in your brain.

Beautiful. Perfect.

Steven List said...

Some day, I hope to have this problem. When I finish one or both of the books I'm working on now. :)

Until then, this was good advice to keep in mind.