7.18.2006

Xanax...not just for breakfast anymore

Dearest Miss Snark of My Heart:

Is it true that the major houses in New York work at a snail's pace over the summer with respect to acquisitions?

My MS (a novel) was submitted by a reputable NY agent and has been at several houses for more than two months. Should I assume these editors are sitting on the beach dictating my rejection letters? Or is there still hope?


Secondly, is there a ballpark figure as to how many publishers (large and small) an agent will generally submit a mystery/thriller novel to before he or she calls it quits?


Thanking you in advance,

I am
Very truly yours,

Tired of Waiting (on Tables)



P.S. My cat has a bone to pick with Killer Yapp for his recent post (KY Offers a Clue), but I told him if he's looking for an apology, he's probably snarking up the wrong tree.


Dear WaitStaff:

1. yes, just like they do all year long.

2. no. Editors have a wardrobe of form rejection letters (no dictation required) based either on the first letter of your last name, or the number of gin martinis served at lunch.

Herewith:


A-F/1 gm
Dear Writer, I'll have to pass on this great masterpiece because I don't think we can do it justice (translation: you want more money than I think it's worth)



G-M/2 gms
Dear Agent: We love this author but the budget is just so tight right now. (Translation: This submission is the second part of a two book deal and I'm sorry I acquired the first one so we're going to offer you something embarrassingly small so you'll get in a huff and sell it someplace else (we pray to dog).)



N-P/3gms
Dear Writer: You're very talented; there's much to admire here, but I didn't fall in love with this (enough to have a bare knuckle brawl with the executive editor who wants me to sign more lesbian haitian vampire novels cause she heard they were hot at BEA).



Q-S/4gms
Dear Agent: Thanks for thinking of me on this one. I'm so sorry I have to pass. (Translation: Were you sloshed on gin when you acquired this? Is it your mom? Sister? oh ... wait... prospective boyfriend with a large trust fund who thought he'd pound out that novel he's been mulling over since he read A Separate Peace at Hill School and just knew he could do better. You and I both know that he fails to measure up both in these sheets...and in those other ones too.)



T-V/4+gms
Dear Writer: I'd love to buy this, I think it's a great novel but I'm quitting my job next week (cause I hate this boss and this company and this entire industry and youmight as well be unhappy too cause misery loves company.)




W-Z /holding cell at the Tombs
Dear Agent: Have you seen the great work they do over at Lulu.com? I think this project would be perfect for that.


3. Yes of course, two months is nothing. Unless your agent is really pushing hard for a fast read, editors don't move very quickly on full mss. Besides, it's summer, we're reading trashy novels, not anything ...er... well, work-related might be the best phrase here.

4. 34


PS Your cat wears Army boots when you aren't watching.

9 comments:

p.n. elrod said...

Bloody %#&&.

That's ANOTHER keyboard you owe me for not posting a beverage alert.


Curses--someone STOLE MY lesbian Haitian vampire idea!! Thanks for the tip-off--I shall do a rewrite.

Nut said...

My cat used to wear a sombrero. No boots, though... No, the mice wore the snickers. You know, to protect their little feet from all the thorns... But then, we moved from the rose garden, onto this damned banana tree. Then, my Ogre got them cat allergies... Now, we live in a mice infested banana tree. I miss the cat.

Feisty said...

Dear Writer: I'd love to buy this, I think it's a great novel but I'm quitting my job next week (cause I hate this boss and this company and this entire industry and youmight as well be unhappy too cause misery loves company.)

That's not even funny because it really happens. I got that once from an agent once. She went back to school probably never to be seen again. Very disappointing since she really got my writing.

Anonymous said...

It sure does happen, feisty. One of the editors who was reading (and enjoying) my novel got fired mid-read.

Talk about insightful, how Miss Snark knew I take Xanax from my brief questions is beyond me. Her answers were hilarious! I feel calmer already!

novelist said...

Ah, I received the N-P/3gms rejection from a junior editor -- thanks for letting me know it said what I thought it said. Now off to write the hatian vampire thing -- which won't be hot by the time I finish.

donroc said...

I received this gem from an agent several years ago, letter not my SASE or E-mail:

Dear My Name,

I have wonderful news. (Heart racing at visions of sale, best seller, the works.) I am getting married. More follows about honeymoon absence time from office. No mention of novel status.

Anonymous said...

Darn, I'm so happy for this post. I am in the exact position as this writer - time line, NY agent and everything.

Elektra said...

donroc, that seems akin to a certain agent who starts his form rejection with "I was thrilled to recieve your query".

jude calvert-toulmin said...

Thanks for your translation service, Miss Snark. Highly entertaining and educational :)