Dear Miss Snark,
About a year ago now, flushed with recent short fiction publication success, I managed to give a 30 second pitch to a Big Name Editor at a writer's conference.
She sounded enthused and asked to see the novel. I admitted the novel was a WIP, and she said she wanted to see it when it was finished. Fast forward over the past year, during which life happened and while I made progress, I did not even come close to finishing my novel.
Currently I'm in the midst of a high-risk pregnancy with complications and even if I make it through this okay, shortly after the new year I'll be dealing with recovering from a major illness, tending a newborn, and also caring for my toddler full time. Obviously my nitwit behavior was in pitching before I could put my money where my mouth was, but my question going forward is this: At what point does an editor's request for a manuscript expire?
I mean, let's say that I pass the 2 year anniversary of the pitch before I manage to complete my magnum opus. Will I look like an even greater nitwit when I mention in the cover letter that the material was requested such a long time ago? (I know not to give excuses, just to say something like, I apologize for the delay, here's the manuscript you requested at X writer's conference 2005). Or should I not mention the meeting at all because the editor will not want to work with an author who has such a long timeline?
Your Snarkilicious Wisdom would help me very much,
Two words: Patsy Cline. Rent the movie Sweet Dreams to see what I mean.
If your work is good, we want to see it. We are avaricious beasts and we want to represent good work. There is a nice man toiling away in a garret somewhere who has been on my radar for YEARS. I thought about him every now and then. I didn't contact him, figuring if he wanted to send me stuff, he'd know how to find me. Well lo and behold last summer, what should turn up by an incredible wonderful marvelous book. There were some structural problems, which he's working on now (and you'll notice we're at the year mark..again).
But, he can send me stuff till he's dead or I am. He's that good. I don't care that he's slow. I want a great book.
When you contact the editor again you can say something close to what you wrote to me and she'll understand you're not a slacker. Even if you are, if you write well enough, all is forgiven.
While Killer Yapp is available for babysitting, the opening sequence of Who Framed Roger Rabbit is in fact a documentary of KY's last adventure with the diaper set.