4.19.2006

Miss Snark, drunken sailor

Dear Miss Snark,

How long should a writer wait for feedback from her agent? Is three months for a 65K-word novel on the long side? Under what circumstances would you take that long? Should the writer take that as a sign to find a new, more interested agent?
Many thanks,

Patient... but not that patient


You've signed with her and you're waiting for her mark up to get a finished ms out?
90 days sounds like enough to me, but I've taken longer on some to my chagrin.

The thing is, stuff happens that sucks up time during the day (like making deals) and the weekend (like stalking George Clooney) and a manuscript mark up is (for me anyway) about 20 hours of time, if you're doing a full mark up, not just a read through.

If you've signed with the agent, call her up.
Ask her what her time line is.
You will either shame her into moving her lazy ass (me again) or find out if she's losing interest.

I'm not sure what "feedback" means exactly. Surely you're not waiting for her to tell you if she likes it?

Manuscripts sitting on the shelf "waiting" for whatever, are not revenue generators, and Miss Snark is an avaricious beast who prefers to earn and spend money like a drunken sailor.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what "feedback" means exactly. Surely you're not waiting for her to tell you if she likes it?

Ah yah...you would be surprised at how prompt some of your peers (competitors) are.

Anonymous said...

What do you do with a drunken sailor?
What do you do with a drunken sailor?
What do you do with a drunken sailor?
Early in the morning...?

Shave his belly with a rusty razor
Shave his belly with a rusty razor
Shave his belly with a rusty razor
Early in the morning...

Anonymous said...

Of course, we all understand how busy agents are, especially if we sign with a small agency with some 50 or more clients. My situation is that my agent told me that he was sending my manuscript out and was also taking it to one of the big fairs. Did I get exited? You bet! That was two months ago and nada, despite two emails asking for just a BRIEF update. Well, as Miss Snark wrote several times, two months is nothing to a busy agent. So I wait and wait and am writing a new book and setting up a website and blog. Keep busy. But then? How long should we wait, how many times contacting an agentand praying you don't piss him off and you get dropped because you've become a freaking pest!

Deirdre said...

Dear Miss Snark,

What do you mean by "mark up"?
Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I feel very, very lucky. The agent I signed with suggested changes before he made an offer. (I was happy to make them because I knew the book would be stronger.) I sent him the revised ms and less than a month later, he called to offer representation. The day I signed, my ms went out the door to a half dozen publishers.

Mark said...

Isn't that [65K] too short for a novel?

Anonymous said...

Deirdre,

Miss S tends to answer direct emailed questions, not ones in this comments section. So I'll pretend to be an expert and tell you what I assume 'mark up' means.

It means scything through your entire MS with the red pen. It means formulating the dreaded request for revisions. Quite literally, it means reading through the MS and marking the parts she thinks need fixing. Or possibly, if the gin pail refiller has been especially efficient on the day, marking the bits you must never change because they are sheer genius.