Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Justin Case-geeze you guys

Ok, I'm reading the comments section on the blog post and I'm getting worried about y'all. First, I didn't mean to imply that you take the accoutrements of your writing life on vacation, and that you be ready to spring into action at the beck and call of an agent.

I just took a week's vacation, turned off the phone, didn't look at the email, and let me tell you it was GREAT.

Writers should do that too.

Nor do I suggest that you hover at your inbox waiting for a reply for months on end.

Clearly I need to work on my writing skills if that was what I conveyed!

First, if you go on vacation and an email arrives, just let it sit there. You don't need to tell me you'll get back to me after a sundrenched spin around the Caribbean. (in fact, if I know which ship, I may come down and get the manuscript in person---you booked a big cabin right?)

Second, if you know you are going on vacation (and you SHOULD!! go on vacation) just send your queries out afterwards.

Third, don't pack your USB drive in your luggage which the airline will lose. That is, in fact, what happened to the last querier who sent me an email saying she'd get back to me later. We had a laugh over that, she'll send the ms when she gets back, and life will go on.

Now, I'm off to remedial writing school for a quick brush up on clarity. The rest of you go look at Travelzoo.com that lists last minute travel deals, and take what appears to be a MUCH NEEDED chill out!

20 comments:

Caroline said...

I agree, vacations away from email and the phone are great. I'm always unsure if I should put an automatic vacation reminder on my email or not. If I don't, people could think I'm ignoring them. If I do, they might feel I'm rubbing my time off in their faces.

So, Janet, you actually prefer to hear nothing from a client or potential client for a week rather than get an "I'm on vacation" email? Do you think most agents share your view?

Caroline

P.S. I agree with your point about not going on vacation immediately after querying.

~Jamie said...

I actually don't think it is unreasonable... just don't set up your inbox with that stupid out of office reply is all...

With email on phones... what is even the point of that?

lotusgirl said...

Haha! Writers can be a little tense. Didn't you know?

Julie said...

Tense, yes. Hardworking, absolutely (those of us... your readers I would bet, who are working 80 to 100 hour weeks so that we can be successful). I love your blog and loved your friend's story in the first Justin Case post, but I am glad you clarified in this one. It was the dichotomy of the first post that hit me something like dropping boulders from the Empire State Building. We work hard, follow all the rules for each agency, work to market properly to each agent, research, read a ton, and we WAIT. I haven't been at this for ten years or anything close, but in the year I have been at this, the waiting for rejections and requests for partials and fulls is a force of nature. So we are intense... a bit. But, I have to say if we were a relaxed bunch, we wouldn't have the wherewithal to seek a goal that required this much work and dedication.

Thanks for the second post. Clarifying this misunderstanding just shows what a class act you are.

Tara Maya said...

This isn't a vacation story, but once, when I was a volunteer in a tropical country, I was only able to check my computer once every three months or so. I found an old email from a magazine editor inviting me to submit a story he knew when I had it up on OWW. I felt so sorry for missing that opportunity.

So, yeah, writers can be a little tense.

Bill Peschel said...

Maybe it's because I recently went through the query process, I understood immediately your point.

The writer controls the timing of the query process. It's up to the writer to ensure that his or her schedule is clear and that hir can respond instantly if an agent wants the proposal.

In the case of my nonfiction book, one agent responded within minutes to ask for the proposal. That's how quick it can happen.

Litgirl01 said...

Lotus!! LOL That describes me to a tee! :-D I think I want to use the word INtense.

Denise Jaden said...

So what you're saying is that we should all wait and go on vacation with you then, right?

See, you're being perfectly clear.

Dan said...

What's a vacation?

ryan field said...

Vacation yes; it's important to get away. But can't live without e-mail for a week...and Cadbury Cream easter eggs, cupcakes and vodka.

Cathy in AK said...

Were I to go on a vacation that included sundrenched beaches or a cruise ship then sure, I'd leave the USB drive and the laptop at home. But most of our vacations are visits to family. Getting lost in my wip or checking my email is a coping mechanism.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Tense? TENse? TENSE?!

How did you know ...?

Ooo, OoooO, Janet ... did you see?

http://membradisjecta.com/2009/03/too-soon-goodbye/

Kim Kasch said...

Sorry, I was in Seattle vacating over the weekend - must have missed the previous post ;)

Mystery Robin said...

You know, I think there's something about querying that just brings out the crazy - I know it did a little in me. Agents whose names I could spell while standing on my head and looking in a funhouse mirror, I suddenly misspelled. I'd get a crazy urge to query right before I *knew* I couldn't check e-mail (like, because my baby was due in three days). And I couldn't format anything.

It's like gremlins just wait for writers to start querying, then attack! I only offer that because i thought writers who did wacky query things were just crazy till I started querying myself. I mean, I keep it under control, but the curse is there.

BJ said...

"Agents whose names I could spell while standing on my head and looking in a funhouse mirror"

Do you find this an effective spelling strategy? Because I know some people who need *something*...

If vacationing on warm sunny beaches, wouldn't the sand get in the computer?

Me, I've taken to going to NYC for my vacations (twice in 5 years, so far). I take my computer everywhere, and a flash drive of my work, so I can write. After all, vacations are the best times for writing.

Last summer when I went there, I was unemployed, so I took some resumes on the flash drive, too. Applied to a job that looked interesting in my home city, and wound up getting it. I'm still doing that job, though it's only temporary. Still, I would have missed the due date if I hadn't gone prepared.

(And I think I've just flunked three or four of Grammar Girl's rules for comment writing. That's what happens when I write comments at bedtime. Lack of focus and... what was I saying?)

adondai said...

Thanks for clarifying - I was actually a fairly confused over your previous post.

kitty said...

I know you like Twitter and wondered if you'd seen this...


Seriously short stories: On Twitter, authors are finding a new way to flex their creative muscles – and soak up instant reader feedback in the process

...

Stephanie Faris said...

I'm glad you posted the blog. It gave me a lot to think about. I think we all probably know this guy very likely had an unfinished manuscript and his "two-week vacation" was a bunch of bull. Come on, let's be honest. But in that case, he should have just remained silent and sent the manuscript as soon as he could. I also couldn't help but wonder if he reads your blog!

As someone said, though, many agents require us to wait weeks and even months. But most agents also make clear the wait time and if an agent like yourself is kind enough to have quick response times, the author should keep that in mind before submitting and be sure he/she will be ready if more is requested. I think too many of us just get jaded after a while. We almost start to assume that we won't hear anything for weeks, maybe months, and we get so used to the rejection that when something positive does happen, it throws us for a loop.

Venus Vaughn said...

I'm glad you clarified too. The first post sounded like you were saying that authors aren't entitled to get-away-from-it-all like the rest of the professionals out there.

When I read it, I found myself sitting in the living-room saying, "No. No, no, no. That's unfair."

Jenn Johansson said...

Ahem... It is me... Justin Case. I indeed did go on vacation and spent wonderful, relaxing days on beaches in Semana, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Virgin Gorda, and Great Stirrup Cay. The sea days were amazing--aside from my plots to kill the Austrailian entertainment director who could not stop telling me to have a "Cracker Jack Day"

I arrived on a flight at 1 am last night and sent off the ms to Janet today. I'll be posting pictures of my cruise later this week on my blog if anyone feels like checking it out. It was amazing... my desire to strangle the luggage man at the airport only detracted from the vacation for a few minutes and Janet was very understanding.

I'm still surprised she didn't drop by though--we had a balcony, with a beautiful view. ;)