Miss Snark may be icy, but her pace isn't glacial

Dear Miss Snark,

I've been signed with an agent for approximately a year. He submitted my manuscript to only one major publishing house and nowhere else. After a few months, the editor requested revisions but offered no contract. I completed the revisions and my agent has resubmitted them to the editor. Great, right? Okay, well in walks my writer's neurosis...

When I queried him about submitting my manuscript to other houses, his response was he didn't want to burden his editors with too many submissions all at once and that my manuscript would have to wait until the work he has already submitted has either been contracted or rejected.

In summary:

One Year
One Manuscript
One Revision Request
One Resubmission
One House

Is this normal operating procedure, or am I the nitwit of the day?

Thank you so much for your time.

How the hell is that agent earning a living?

Burden his editors?? His??

I figure editors are sitting at their desks every morning at 9am with nothing to do and it's my sworn duty to help them get busy so they won't get fired. Sadly, some (ok, all) editors don't see it quite that way but you get the idea.

Let's take a look at my most recent fabulous novel, a mystery.

I print out the manuscript.
I work up a cover letter that tells the editor how fabu this book is (this is where Miss Snark feels your query letter pain).

I call about 12 editors who buy this kind of book. We chat. I pitch. Being smart, they say ok.
I send.

Now, I generally don't send more than one ms at a time but there are exceptions. The difference is I don't wait a YEAR for someone to decide AND I have different kinds of projects with different editors. And the bottom line is, I'd send sixteen projects to one editor if they wanted.

I'm VERY VERY skeptical this agent is effective. Time to start looking around at his competitors to see who else is out there.


Lexis said...

This sounds so similar to what happened to me. Six months out and my manuscript had only gone to one publishing house. Two lots of revisions and still nowhere. I found out later the agent had given the editor a 6 months exclusive and hadn't said a word to me about it when I asked. After that it was another editor for a further 6 months. Needless to say, I'm no longer with that agent

Harry Connolly said...

Email the folks at Writer Beware (one of the blog links in Miss Snark's sidebar) and ask them what they have about this particular agent. Include the agent's name and agency.

They'll be able to tell you if the agent is legit, gormless or an outright scammer.

Good luck.

Harry Connolly said...

I should have said: The Writer Beware link is under "Ann and Victoria" in the sidebar.

Deb said...

My ex-agent sent one of my books to nine different houses. Results as follows:

4 rejections, no two for the same reason
2 editors "left that publisher for another house" (I was unable to verify this
3 houses "lost the submission" (unable to verify this, either)

This after 15 months of work (?) on the agent's part. No followup calls were made until I asked him to do so. No rejections shared until I begged for them (I wanted to revise based on what the editor had liked/disliked about the MS). No plan, as in, "okay, our next round will be the following publishers..."

Needless to say, I am not associated with him anymore, and I couldn't advise anyone else to query him either. He's cut loose several other authors on the basis that "he doesn't have time" for them. The agency web site and the Agent-Match site still claims that he's actively seeking new clients.

And we wonder why writers in agent-search mode get confused?