8.19.2006

I said three months...but I meant Pluto time

I have a manuscript with a reputable agent. He has had it more than seven months. When I ask him about it he replies by writing, "I am considering several new projects and yours is one of them."

Although his words are encouraging, I am getting frustrated. Is it unusual for the process to drag on like this? How long, Miss Snark, how long is too long to wait?


(Miss Snark sneeks a peek at her data base to see how long the oldest manuscript has been languishing. Whew!!! Only since June!)

It's entirely possible that this agent is not blowing smoke up your asterisk. Sometimes it does take that long.

Your mistake here is pinning all your hopes and dreams on one guy. While he's lollygagging around, YOU should be querying. Don't stop querying till you've got an offer for representation on the table.

I'm in the last stages of signing my next client. The process is about a year long what with reading, some revisions, and Miss Snark's lollygagging. This guy was WELL within his rights to keep querying. He didn't (and I'm glad of course) but I wouldn't have held it against him if he'd said at any point "yo! Snark for Brains, three agents have made me offers and I'd like to let them know soon. If you're still interested in this, I'd still like to work with you" or some such other nice reminder that Miss Snark needs to get out of her bathtub o'gin and start actually working.

You are not a supplicant in the publishing world. You have a product. Keep pitching till you place it.

4 comments:

delilah said...

If the agent is responding, that's half the battle. One agent has had my ms for over eight months and has never responded to my inquiries.

Needless to say, I wrote him off months ago. I am continuing the query process as if he doesn't exist. And if I had a "Poof Button", he would, in fact, not.

Exist.

Jane Lebak said...

Whenever I get irritated that an agent or editor isn't responding, I take out my frustrations on a different editor or agent. :-)

The letter-writer might find it helpful, whenever s/he gets frustrated with the slow agent, to do some market research and send a brilliant query letter to a different agent. It doesn't even have to be for the same project.

By using this technique, I ended up with a dozen acceptances on smaller projects while waiting for editors or agents to get back to me on my novel. And then when there's a rejection, it's not so heartbreaking because there's so much more out there.

WitLiz Today said...

Ok, I'm gonna shock the hell outta of everybody and get serious here.

I just spent two days, two whole days, 48 hours, blah blah minutes, blah blah seconds reading over my wip. That's over 100,000 words according to Mr. Word.

Prior to this, I knew many things about the wip and about me. I loved my work. I loved the story. I loved the locale. I loved the characters. I especially loved the writing. The author was clearly very talented.

Yes,I loved me some more me. I basked in me. Rewrote LVB's 5th symphony, last movt to read, "ODE TO ME."

But alas, I woke up as I read the 300 plus pages of the ms in the 48 hours. Wow, from Beethoven's fifth, to Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.

My point is this:I have a whole new respect for LA's and Editors. At least the ones that hustle, and work very hard to produce quality books. Reading ms after ms, partial after partial, query after query, must be mind numbing after awhile.

Give them a break. If you can't wait, then make sure you query many agents when you start the process.

HawkOwl said...

Whoa, it's a bathtub of gin now? Isn't it time to admit you are powerless? ;)

Witliz Today - It's the 9th symphony. The 5th is the one nicknamed Am Schicksal which starts with the famous "dit-dit-dit-dot" pattern. And Twinkle Twinkle Little Star has a lot of potential - check out Mozart's variations on it.