Where is Trevanian when you REALLY need him

Dear Miss Snark,

I just ran across this, and since I was repelling through the Snarkives and stumbled across a nitwit of the day post thought I would pass this along for future use.

Light Travels Faster Than Sound. That's Why Some People Appear Bright Until
You Hear Them Speak."

Okay, that said, my question.

My first novel, POD, yeah, $5000.00+ and a lot of screaming later I realize my mistake. Post POD, got a new editor, one that didn't moonlight for the POD house after long tortuous hours at the pickle factory. But a real editor with credentials! And oh yes, it cost me fewer pieces of eight from my treasure chest than the one from the POD house. Hmmm, can you say,

I digress.

Manuscript is much better. I queried widely to a variety of agents and I got some good responses, mostly "not for us" but done in a tactful way. Finally an agent requested more, and has not blown me off.

Sequence: Query. Please send first three chapters, did that. Wait 2-4 months. Doing that. Sent a follow-up e-mail at 90 days. Answer: "Should have something for you soon? What the puck does that mean?

Okay. Now second book is with a good house in NYC that I have a previous acquaintance with. He also saw book above. Then, I had not heard from him in 30 days then, and queried for an update. Within an hour I got a refusal. Ouch! But with a caveat "We don't do any POD, but good writing, you have talent" Yeah! "If you do another, please feel free to submit." Done, book
two is there. Question is, the agent's website does not detail how long they take to reply to ms. So.... based on what happened last time, I am hesitant to fire off another "update request" to NYC and get ground into bug juice once again.

On the upside, what if Agent A likes Book 1 and Agent B likes book 2? Both offer contract? Yikes! I would expect this isn't typical, but must have occurred, what does an
author do then?

Well I'm glad to see we both think you are repelling.
Perchance you meant to be clever and use the word rappeling, but the jokes work better when you get the words right.

I sent you the form rejection email when this question sat unanswered in my mailbox for thirty days. Did you think that it didn't apply to you?

First, every question you ask (and I counted five) has been addressed previously.
Second, if you read this over, you'll realize you are simply dithering in your anxiety. Knock it off. Focus on your writing. Send Miss Snark concise questions about specifics and she's less likely to offer you rope and tell you to jump off a cliff.


Stacia said...

A "house" is a publisher, not an agent, so when you mentioned Agents A & B you really confused me. But then, a lot of this letter confused me.

And last time I checked, 90 days was a shorter period of time then 4 months, which means you asked for an update before the initial time period had passed.

If you hunt around online, there's lots of info on what to do when you have more than one agent interested-it's in the Snarkives and there's lots of writer's forums and other blogs and publications who talk about this very thing, as it's not a totally rare thing.

Good luck! :-)

Ann Aguirre said...

As a general rule, pestering agents and editors for "updates" is not a good idea. If they want to rep (or buy) your material, they will notify you, trust me.

Yes, waiting is hard, but stop thinking about it. Write something else. The reason a writer writes is because he/she has a story that must be told. You don't do it for kudos or sales or glory. There are much easier ways to get recognition.

All you will accomplish in asking for updates is to acquire a rep as being high-maintenance. And sometimes silence is an answer. If they don't get back to you that means no. You don't cry, you improve your writing (without spending tons of money) and send out another round of queries.

Jeff Adair said...

Ooooh, snap!

Anonymous said...

What's POD?