Friday, November 25, 2016

More on Nudging

I've had a requested full from a writer for lo, these many months now.

[Ok, seven]

She's been in touch with me a couple times, always very pleasantly, always in a way that reinforced her solid professionalism. In other words, in a way that underscored she'd be a pleasure to work with.

Her most recent email:

 I have to admit that I read your blog post this morning, and was debating whether or not I should give you a little poke. As you can see, the poking decision won over the not poking decision, but that's also because I re-read our chain and realized you told me to follow up with you again at the end of October regarding [Title] :) I blame my delayed follow up on how quick these last few months have gone! Seriously, I can't believe it's November already.

At any rate, here's another picture of Comet because at this point it would be a shame for me not to include him:
Comet, hoping I've actually gotten some reading done!
I realized the key ingredient to successful nudging here is she had permission to do so. In fact, all the writers who send me full manuscripts have that explicit permission.

I'm not sure a lot of other agents do this.

If they do not, one thing writers should ask when sending a requested full is "When should I check back with you?"

I do this with editors a lot. I let them set the reading schedule since they know more about what's on their plate than I do.



And of course, it never hurts to employ the secret weapon of dog and cat photos.

20 comments:

Kitty said...

I think you're feeling better...right?

E.M. Goldsmith said...

The cute dog makes me want to read faster. And I am with OP, it does feel like time has sped up. I hope you really are feeling better.

Theresa said...

Ah, the secret has been revealed!

Hope you're feeling better, Janet.

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

Somehow, a buttshot of The World's Most Boring Cat giving her best Bye Felicia impression isn't going to convince an agent to read the Stunningly Good MS any faster.

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

I'm sitting here with my eyes about to cross as I research "hay suppliers" in surrounding states (and beyond). We buy it by the semi-load and the last two shipments from our regular supplier have been...um...disappointing. And GA is in a drought so there's none to be found locally.

The photo of Comet (and reading about something other than timothy hay vs bermuda) is a nice break.

May Stringfield said...

It is always easy to be pleasant and professional when dealing with a pleasant and professional agent! You do a really good job keeping writers at ease. That is always appreciated!

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

So I just backed up one laptop in preparation to make a machine switch. My writing files take up less than a gig, which is sort of a humbling thing when you consider the time, mental sweat, etc. that's gone into all these stories.

However. I do have 9 gigs of Elka pictures.

So, my Hypothetical Future Agent™ is sure to be blessed!

dellcartoons said...

>solid professionalism. In other words, in a way that underscored she'd be a pleasure to work with.

I know you've mentioned this before, but how important is professionalism? Would you refuse to work w/ a highly talented and skilled writer if said writer was more of a pain in the ass than red-hot caltrops on your chair? Would you work w/ a writer who was far from ready, if said writer displayed excellent manners and a professional attitude?

Would you suspect the writer's attitude might go public, and would lose too many potential readers.

In your post "How to be Stupid" (http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2008/04/how-to-be-stupid.html) you discuss how rudeness can cause a writer to lose a publisher, especially a small publisher. You suggest that '(i)f you're the kind of person who flies off the handle or needs "translation services" an agent is a good medium between you and the publisher.' But how much rudeness will an agent take?

Obviously I need more things about which to worry. "Am I polite enough to my potential agent?" should be a good one.

Please. Thank you. I appreciate your time and effort. I apologize. And I hope you have a nice day.

Bethany Elizabeth said...

Funny, pictures of puppies are one reason why I'm NOT efficient about getting back to people... strange. :)

Today is a sloooooow day at work. I'm updating some internal wikis to make them pretty, which pretty much means I've run out of stuff to do. I hope everyone had a great thanksgiving!

Steve Stubbs said...

Some years ago there was a story in the news about an unpublished MS of Jules Verne being discovered. It predicted the rise of the US, the dominance of English as a language in the world, the invention of aircraft, and numerous other interesting ideas. The only thing Verne got wrong was he thought air travel would never be as popular as ocean liners. Don’t know if Verne nudged them, but editors rejected it. It was so ridiculous, they said, that nobody would ever believe it.

Colin Smith said...

What if the agent holds out for more cat pictures?


Dear Colin,

Thank you for the last two hundred nudges. Sorry to keep you waiting. I hope this reply finds you alive. If so, that's terrific. I've always been impressed with how tenacious you writers are! And still able to type, too. Anyway, I see you have a new cat, and what a beautiful creature he is! I'm close to making a decision, but please continue to give me a nudge every month or so if you haven't heard back. And keep those cat pictures coming--they really do help. You say you named this new one after me? How sweet!

Thank you for your patience. Hopefully you'll hear from me soon.

Sincerely,

Amber Green
Read Amber Green Agency

PS: Just a thought. In the event things don't work out, feel free to leave Molasses to me in your will.

Janice Grinyer said...

Do horse photos count?

Ardenwolfe said...

Honestly? The worst part of publishing is the waiting. At a glacial pace? Yeah. I sometimes think the Second Coming took less time than to get your book on the shelves. You best love this career if you want to get into it.

Otherwise? Take up knitting. Less stressful. And you may make more money too.

Julie Weathers said...

Heidi Since Gage the Wonder Dog is usually camped out under the desk at my feet snoring and passing gas like a lumberjack, it's difficult to get interesting pictures of him. My future nudge pictures will probably consist of a lot of horse butts.

Dellcartoons I assume professional also varies according to success though I suspect the days of the prima dona writers are largely over. Of course, if you have someone like G.R.R. Martin, they can do pretty much as they wish. Wouldn't you love to be a person who worked with Hunter S. Thompson?

Melanie Good luck with the hay search. On the ranch, that was never a problem, of course. Later, finding good horse hay could sometimes get to be a genuine pain in times of drought and shelling out $150 for a round bale that was acceptable and hoping it wasn't moldy or had blister beetles, which we've had. It is the pits.

Right now I am not even thinking about the querying process or being professional, though I do try not to be an ass. I'm 90,000 words in on Rain Crow, but realistically I'm only about half done as many of those chunks will not make this cut. I'm just trying to pretend I'm a writer. Fake it till you make it as they say.

Karen McCoy said...

I let them set the reading schedule since they know more about what's on their plate than I do. Very wise advice.

Successful nudging, I'm sure, also involves a lack of over-eagerness. Unlike the kind I exhibited this morning regarding the Gilmore Girls Revival. My husband asked, "Can you chill, for like a hour?"

I am chilling for the moment, and trying to get better at it. :)

Lennon Faris said...

Well, Comet's sure a cutie.

Melanie -good luck with the hay dilemma!

JD Horn said...

Comet is A.D.O.R.A.B.L.E.

KC said...

What about goats?

Beth said...

Hope Comet is getting lots of belly rubs, and OP is getting some good news soon.

Laura Moe said...

Now I know how my cat can earn his keep: pose for pictures to send to agents. Note to self: find out if agent has an aversion to cats. If so, use cousin's dog pix.
Hope you are feeling much better.