I surfed over to one of my favorite places on the web today and saw the rejecter say she wasn't sure what I meant by holding pen. This was in reference to an earlier post of mine about timing. I said I'd just signed a client who'd been in the holding pen for a year.
Clearly I let my zest for colorful imagery get in the way of clarity: three lashes with a eyeball for that.
Here is the chronology of what "holding pen" meant.
Sept 2005-Querier gets email from me saying "do send balance of ms".
Querier responds he will send shortly; life has been making itself known in a variety of ways and he's a tad behind on his polishing. MS responds "no worries".
December 2005-ms arrives
Feb 2006-Miss Snark reads it and loves it (preliminary phone call to author to make sure not a loon)
April 2006-Miss Snark reads it again, and cogitates on placement. (follow up phone call to make sure still not a loon)
September 2006-Miss Snark meets client and plies him with liquor.
November 2006-contracts signed, sealed, delivered.
Now, normally it doesn't take this long but this was a spectacularly unusual novel and I wanted to have a very very solid grasp of what I was going to do with this thing before I got this guy's hopes up by taking it on. I also wanted to be as sure as I could that the author wasn't spectacularly hard to deal with. (he's not, he's a great guy)
I'd rather dawdle before signing and be sure than have those wretched ugly miserable horrible conversations about "I can't sell this". The two are not mutually exclusive but more than once this year I've said no to a novel I love cause I didn't have confidence I could sell it.