Wednesday, December 14, 2016

So, I've been thinking ***

Last week's blog posts and comment trail on the waiting game got me thinking.

There was a certain brave contingent who pushed back on the idea of agents taking so long to read things. Some suggested just pulling the manuscript from consideration if the agent took too long. (You can see how long it took for most of my requested fulls on yesterday's post)

Here's why doing that is a TERRIBLE idea.

The amount of time it takes an agent to read your manuscript is just the first in a series of estimates  you'll experience in your publishing career.

When I send your manuscript to an editor, there's a wait period. If you get impatient with that time and tell me to just pull it from submission, you're pretty close to being an ex-client.  This kind of behavior would damage my ability to work with editors. Guess how eager I am to do that.

When your editor acquires the manuscript and makes an offer, there's a wait period while we negotiate the offer, and then while we negotiate the contract.  Get impatient, say "fuck this noise I'm going to self-publish", you will be an ex client.

When your book is slated for publication and gets bumped to the following season for reasons you don't approve of (and yes this happens) and you say "fuck it, I'm canceling the contract" you are an ex-client with a bill to pay back the publisher, INCLUDING the commission cause we don't refund that if we've done our job.

When your book is published and the trade reviews don't come prior to publication (that does happen) or the people you've asked for blurbs don't respond in a timely manner, and you take to social media to wail about people and PW failing you left and right, well yes, you're still a client, but you've gotten
a tongue lashing you'll never forget.  And damaged your relationship with me pretty badly.

Impatience can damage or  kill your career.

If you don't know this going in to the query process, well, you know it now.
And if you're a savvy writer, you'll figure out ways to manage your impatience.
You'll figure out ways to measure what's a realistic wait time, what's too long, and how to overcome problems caused by delays.

In other words, you won't complain, you'll strategize.




***always a dangerous thing

64 comments:

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

That's why we call them our babies.

Gestationally it takes a village of thumb-suckers to get your baby born, crawling and running off into the sunset.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Oh 2Ns!! Ha!

You mean, Janet, that impatience is not a virtue?

And by that paragraph about paying back the publisher, INCLUDING the commission--the commission being the percentage the agent retains for having sold the client's book to a publishing company?

A bright and chilly g'morning y'all from the frosty north midwest.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

This is why, as Mr. Petty says, waiiiiiting is the hardest part.

It makes people get antsy, second guess, do unwise things.

Probably why the (reasonably good) advice is to, while wait, write another book, n'est-ce pas?

I also sometimes wonder if this is how some sequels come about, as a way of stopping yourself from the eternal fiddling with a book so it can be queried, but also to spend more times with characters one enjoys. (though can I tell you deep horror I felt when I realized one's sequel could be rejected)

Theresa said...

Anyone else hearing a chorus of "The waiting is the hardest part"?

Patience is a mark of professionalism.

Theresa said...

Ha, Jennifer, our posts overlapped!

french sojourn said...


Short answer...while the process is grinding away in it's glacial pace, your job as a writer is to...

Write, right?

E.M. Goldsmith said...

So first ugly draft of my WIP done. While that bakes for a bit, I am on to writing the next book. Got a sort of accidental but kind of on purpose synopsis done for it last night. And a title I absolutely love. No doubt a future publisher will want to change it. There might be the hill I die on. But it won't be impatience.

So instead of waiting and griping, it is my intention to keep writing. If the process hits some of the common stumbling blocks with one book, another book or even twelve will be lining up behind it.

But because of the rodent wheel installed in my attic, I will be constantly checking my email like a fiend. Even before I start querying because well... And I have quite the portfolio of pug and kitten pictures for the occasional nudge.

I hope to make an agent happy one day. Not stressed and annoyed.

Lennon Faris said...

"So, I've been thinking -always a dangerous thing" I'm hearing Gaston from Beauty and the Beast.

Someone here at the Reef (wish I could remember who!) once compared getting an agent to getting your college degree. It's hard and it's worth celebrating, but that's when the real work begins!

S.D.King said...

Lennon Faris - that makes me a Junior. If I do my homework and pass the tests maybe Senior year will happen.

S.P. Bowers said...

Seems funny they object to waiting now when it takes so long to write a good book anyway. The whole process is long, start to finish.

Donnaeve said...

This is SO true!

The waiting is ongoing...and I eluded to it in a comment from two weeks ago. Actually, it's that comment that made me think THAT was the post you were referencing in today's, only it wasn't from last week! It was on Nov 30th.

I said more, but at the end was this, There are going to be a multitude of events that happen where you'll have to wait. From that full, to going on submission, to waiting on your editor to read a revised ms.

There isn't a thing I know of in publishing that happens fast.


You've nailed it here with the details, and anyone thinking they just don't have the time to wait isn't cut out for this.

John Davis Frain said...

I submitted a short story to a national mystery magazine. Website stated response time of 2-3 months.
Submission date: March 8, 2016
Response date: I'll let you know. It's still in the queue.

Submitted a shorter story to an online magazine. Website stated they "always respond" and response time averages 30 days.
Submission date: September 5, 2016
Response time: See above.

That's just two examples that demonstrate:
1. Yes, it's a waiting game.
2. One more reason Janet's flash fiction contests are amazing.

RachelErin said...

Donnaeve,
I think backlash to being a jerk can happen pretty quickly, either among publishing professionals, or your audience.

But I want to cross-stitch and frame this: Don't complain, strategize.

Even though I avoid -ize words whenever possible. New subheader? It would also be a great motto for an interesting character.

DLM said...

The thing about wanting to set deadlines on getting published is that it seems like the deadline is on making money. The thing about COUNTING on counting coins is that it smells of desperation.

Hardly any authors will get to quit a day job, and publishing money's not the basis on which to pay the insurance or the light bill. If you GET published, it might be nice to use the money to build that dream screened-in porch, or invest, or treat your nieces to something lovely. But if you need x-amount of money and allow that to be an expectation, you're basically creating a demand upon agents/publishers, who are under zero obligation to your creditors.

I dunno, maybe I'm just far too much in a debt-conscious mindset right now (my basement job is done! now to pay the piper for years to come!), but deadlining the financing of art just seems a really bad expectation.

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

My solution to The Waiting Game? Forget entirely that i subbed.

Got a form reject from an agent today. I'm all, "Who are you again?" Tomorrow will see me subbing to two more lucky agents to replace this one.

I'll forget about these ones as well as soon as I hit send. After all, I've got another ms i want to complete before the new year.

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

Several years ago we were granted custody of a feral Arabian stallion who was starving. He was 18 years old, hadn't been handled in a very long time, and wouldn't let anyone near him. The property was isolated. There were no barns or pens where he could be lured into a corral and prepped for transport back to our sanctuary. I stood in the field with him for nearly four hours, quietly, calmly, until he let me slip a rope across his neck and ease a halter up onto his head. I'm suuuuper patient.

Lisa Bodenheim said...
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Lisa Bodenheim said...

Melanie, what a gorgeous, heartbreaking story. With a Happy Ever After.

Dena Pawling said...


My kids are 17, 19, 20, and 22. The younger three are still at home. When one of them is impatient (even now, this many years from when they were toddlers), my husband and I will start singing the Mr. Rogers song "Let's Think of Something to Do While We're Waiting." This never fails to cause several sets of eyes to roll so far back into heads that the affected kids are in danger of falling over.

Kari Lynn Dell said...

To give some solid numbers to what you can expect AFTER you've finally gotten THE CALL:

Publisher #1: Offer made late April 2014. Contract presented for signature in mid-November. Due to scheduling demands on their side, we then did all of the editing, cover, etc. in four months and released Feb. 1. Luckily, it was a short book. They do pay quickly, however--depending on how long it takes THEM to get paid by digital booksellers. On average, I get a statement and advance check every ninety days.

Publisher #2: Three book offer made the same day in November as the aforementioned contract was received. Because their marketing department firmly believe the book was best positioned in summer and there wasn't time to get it ready and do the necessary marketing push for 2015, release date was set for August 2016. Yep, 23 months. After much back and forth with my agent, final contract signed May 2015, advance received June 12th. First round of edits commenced in November 2105. Second book delivered per contract on January 1, 2016. Edit letter received May 31st. Third book delivered July 1. Edit letter received Nov. 18th.

Second three book offer made early July 2016. Contract signed October 28th. Advance still in process.

For the record, I am the only person--agent included--who finds this protracted or unusual. And my publisher is pumped about this series and has been throwing a lot of marketing muscle behind it, so it's not like they're shoving me into some dark dungeon of their hard drives to rot.

And if you'd like to talk about interminable waits, my publisher calculates royalties twice a year--December 31st and June 30th. They then deliver a statement to my agent by April 30th and October 31st, respectively. Since my first book released in August, I didn't get an October statement. The first real sales numbers and any royalties above my advance (assuming I've earned out) will be eight months after the release.

Conclusion: if ninety days is too long to wait for an agent to read your manuscript, you ain't gonna last long in a business where your editor takes twice that to get to a contracted book about which she and the company at large are very excited. And income trails far, far behind.

Bethany Elizabeth said...

The waiting game is one of the most interesting games to people-watch. There are some people who never wait. Whenever they're stuck in line, they whip out a book. Whenever they're meeting a late friend, they people-watch - or pray, or read, or write. Long-term waiting is the same thing. If you twiddle your thumbs waiting for a response, you're the one who's wasting time. Not the agent.

Stephen G Parks said...

A similar experience to John Frain, I submitted a short story to a well-known sci fi publisher. They claim to take about 6 months to get back to you. I'm at 12 months and counting. Nudged them at 10 months, no reply. They aren't NORMANs. I've gotten a (nicely detailed personal) rejection from them before, at 7 months.

Sherry Howard said...

I'm like Heidi, I send a sub out and keep on working. I distract myself with poetry, short works, and the next novel while I wait. When I get a response, I have to find my email trail or records to remember what's going on. I'm thoroughly invested, but not owned by my submissions. Good luck to all of you on this winding path to publication.

RosannaM said...

I am not a patient person in every day life, like being in a car behind someone who doesn't go when the light turns green. Because that's what I expect to happen. I expect to wait at the red, and expect to go at the green. Not going, then, makes me impatient.

Knowing the glacial pace of publishing is glacial, I will not expect it to be a waterfall. Just like I take a book when I have to take my car in to be worked on, or go to the DMV. I know I will have to wait. Maybe a lonnnng time. And so I prepare myself.

Claire Bobrow said...

I had a similar experience to the Duchess just last week. A rejection letter arrived in my inbox 10 months after I submitted the query - I figured it was a NORMAN and had forgotten all about it. It was a lovely rejection, so I didn't mind at all, and definitely preferred the response to stone-cold silence, even if it took a while.

My Dad was, quite possibly, the most patient man on earth. I'm not sure I could stand in a field for 4 hours like Melanie (bravo!), but I definitely inherited a lot of Dad's patience.

Dena: I'm considering learning that song to sing to our 17 and 19 year-old kids. Considering, mind you. Their eyes have rolled back so far already, there's not much room to roll further... :-)

Kari: thank you for that breakdown. It's good to see an example of what we can actually expect (if we get very lucky, that is!).

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

PS... Just got a request for a full via a query I sent out in May.

Lisa B: Thanks so much for the kind words.

DLM said...

One thing to add to this - the agent who requested my full but never so much as acknowledged receipt nor responded DID go off my list. I never even got the R, but if she'd rejected me after a year my response would have been little more than bitter chortling. She requested, I sent within 3 days, no response of any kind. I emailed a week later to ask whether she'd received; no response of any kind. I tried one last time, I think it was two weeks or even a month later; no response of any kind.

Once you've opened a line of communication (requesting a full) and you then do not communicate: I do not wish to do business with you. Am currently dealing with that in another area right now - with someone who might have stood to make thousands off me. Hey, if you don't behave like a professional, I assume you do not want my money. Bye!

Kari Lynn Dell said...

Reading my comment above through the eyes of my pre- published self I realized my first reaction would be "But at least YOU know the book will eventually be published." Alas, no. Until my editor reads and accepts it I live with the possibility that she could say "Sorry, but no. This doesn't fit the series, I hate this character" or the old standby "The whole thing sucks". Which leaves the writer with the option of panic writing a whole new book on a man ch shortened deadlin or paying back the advance. So yeah, believe it or not, the waiting it possibly worse under contract because you can't just shrug off the rejection and say "Oh well."

Colin Smith said...

As some/most of you know, I have six kids, five girls and a boy. They are now 23, 21, 18, 16, 14, and 12. I've learned patience the hard way. :)

One life lesson I've learned is, when you make a decision, you weight the cost and live with the consequences. More than ever, writers have publishing choices. If you can't wait to have your NaNo novel published, you can make it into a pdf and start selling it online on December 1. If the wait times for traditional publishing seem unreasonable, and you want more control over the delays, you can self-publish. Don't want to wait on an editor? Edit it yourself. Don't want to wait on a cover designer? You can do that yourself. These aren't wrong choices. They may not be the right choices for your book (especially if you're a terible spelur, or you have no sense of design), but they are choices you can make, each with their own set of consequences. If you want to be traditionally published, there are things you need to do, and the waiting game is one of the consequences of that decision. Just be sure you count the cost before you decide.

Off-topic: Today, wifey and are celebrating our 25th anniversary. YAY! :D We had hoped we'd be vacationing in England, or doing something really special. As it is, given our kids' activities today, we're going to try to do lunch at a nice restaurant. I did get her a house--doesn't that count? ;-)

DLM said...

Colin, today is also my mom and dad's anniversary; this year, it would have been 53 years. It's also the anniversary of my first date with A Certain Someone.

12/14 was always the day we put up and decorated the tree, at our house. Nowadays, waiting so long makes people think I am some sort of emotionally malformed Grinch, but I love keeping the decorated season somewhat short. It is even more special for all the family associations and such.

Many happy returns to you and yours, Colin. I should say, the house more than counts; home *is* the special thing, no?

And that's my three comments. Happy Wednesday to all, and to all a good Wednesday!

Susan said...

The long wait was one of the many reasons why I chose to self-publish my latest book (the fact that I love the business of being an indie author was another). I queried for a little less than a year, but it never felt right for me. You know that anxious feeling you get when you know you're heading down a path that isn't right for you? It's different than the anxious feeling you get when you're awaiting an outcome--with this, I intuitively knew that self-publishing was the best choice, but as I've admitted before, I ignored that because my ego wanted the glory of an agent and traditional book deal.

At the time, I was close to the sickest I'd ever been, and I didn't know what the future held. That was the final nail for me--what drove my decision home. I pushed forward every day to get my book in readers' hands.

Interestingly, three months into the process of self-publishing, I received another request for a full. I respectfully explained where I stood. The agent was wonderful in response. A few weeks ago, nearly three months since my release date (and a full year since I queried), I received a form rejection on a query I thought had long been NORMANed.

Publishing is an infuriatingly slow business, but that's the business. Even if you're self-publishing, it usually takes between three and six months to do it right, and the wheels of marketing have to get enough traction to lift up your sales, which can take upwards of a year.

For those of you who are traditionally publishing/ querying, heed the advice here (as always!) and just remember how long it took you to write your book. It's easy to be eager once you've finished to want to send it out into the world right away, but remember what your end-goals are and align your level of patience with that. And in the meantime, distract yourself with another book.

Lucie Witt said...

**crawls out of hiding spot**

I'll briefly share my only time withdrawing a submission.

Query Super Star Agent March 2013. Full request May 2014. Sent same day, confirmed.

First check in 6 months later. Nada. Periodically check in from time to time.

Revise novel. Send updated version.

In June of 2016, withdraw from considetation. That's right. Over two years later. Query another agent at same agency, immediate full request ending in a polite step aside when I received another offer.

My advice: be patient, but don't be afraid to move on when things get ridiculous.

Susan said...

Question: Do advances get paid back if the book doesn't happen? I read a story once about a well-known blogger who received a high-figure advance on their book only to have the book not published (I can't remember if the publisher pulled the plug or if the blogger did). The blogger who was telling the story mentioned that they kept the advance. This didn't sit well with me, even before I knew how advances worked. Don't authors have to pay the advance back if the book is never published since it's an advance against future royalties?

Melanie: that's a heartwarming story! Thanks for all you do for these animals!

Kregger said...

I remember impatience.

Impatience is the imperfect perception of time.

Like wasted youth, impatience is an infliction of the young.

Witness a seven-year-old child's statement of maturity after surviving the age of six.

Of course, after enduring ten years of college and twenty-five years of business, I'm peering upslope from the wrong side of the hill.

I view impatience like others consider childhood diseases like RSV, mumps, and chicken pox. They're something to avoid or get over.

My writing is for fun. I direct my impatience at my abilities, not the industry. I consider storytelling like a chronic disease, constantly flaring up and rarely extinguished. Just ask the grandkids.

Every life needs balance. Infinite patience perverts forward movement, and impatience should be the tack on the seat of life to give impetus to move.

(Favorite squishy-quote) "Hello. I am Inigo Montoya. Impatience killed my career. Prepare to die.

When anxiety causes writers to act out, untoward things occur. Consider losing the respect of our beloved QOTKU.

No one wants that.

Does anyone know how to sanitize my laptop's keyboard? It keeps infecting me to write.

Bad computer, bad!

Kregger

Lucie Witt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Colin Smith said...

Susan: My understanding is (and Janet can stomp all over my Christmas presents if I'm wrong) that the advance is not a loan. It's the publisher's gamble, so to speak. If that gamble doesn't pay off, then the publisher takes it as a loss. If it pays off, the publisher gets their money back in royalties plus a lot more. Publishers don't care what the author does with the advance. If I recall previous discussion on the topic correctly, the only exception to this is if the author withdraws the book, or somehow breaks his/her contract with the publisher after the advance has been paid. In that case, the author is expected to reimburse the publisher, plus pay their agent their dues.

Joshua Mason said...

This is a hell of a business. If you cant hack the waiting game or the rejections then you had best pack up your tent and go home. You are not cut out for it. Sounds harsh, because it is.

Craig F said...

I have not been thinking about it. The WAIT is a fact of life and I have already spit into the wind several times. I might know better by now.

It is not the wait that is the problem. It is that is seems like the industry standard is to tell writers that reading a requested full takes 90 days. That wait is more than acceptable at that point.

The problem is in how hard it is on the psyche of a writer for that reading to stretch to 180 to 389 days. It hurts because the agent doesn't seem to have enough respect for that writer to acknowledge that they are still interested and that the world got in the way.

I'll stop now. If I go on someone might think the Baker Act would be appropriate.

Donnaeve said...

Lucie makes a good point. (*waves, hey there!*)

All I'll say is, apply common sense.

PLUS, what Kari said too. Great examples. And just to (likely) repeat what I've said in the past, I got signed by my agent in March 2012 and the book sold April 2015.

RachelErin I think so too, and you point out audience. Not sure if you meant about reviews, or otherwise...



Julie Weathers said...
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Janice Grinyer said...

I think it was brought up in another long ago blog post of yours, JR, that as long as everyone is communicating, then everyone should understand and agree to how the process works.

Lucie Witt said...

**waves** Hi, Donnaeve!

Adib Khorram said...

A lot of my day job as a graphic designer involves waiting for clients to get me specs, graphic elements, logos, all sorts of things. Granted, we're talking waiting on a scale of days and weeks, but still, I've had to learn there's nothing (beyond a polite nudge) that I can do. I focus on controlling what I can and letting go of what I can't.

Patience is a skill that, like any other, can be learned. Or at least faked.

Not to say I don't sometimes stare at my inbox, hoping for emails. I'm still human.

RachelErin said...

Donnaeve Sure, reviews, especially on places like Goodreads, but also twitter and blog posts. If an author says something stupid on the public internet, other people talk about it. And take screenshots. Of course, sometimes the author says something intelligent and well-reasoned, but people bomb them with hate speech anyway.

I have ways to handle the waiting, I just don't want to wait until after I'm dead. (I'm looking at you, Dostoevsky).

Happy anniversary Colin! 12/14 is a fantastic day for many reasons - today I can no longer say I am in my 'early' thirties. Mid-30s all the way.

Lennon Faris said...

Bethany Elizabeth
"If you twiddle your thumbs waiting for a response, you're the one who's wasting time. Not the agent." - I love this.

Melanie - that is such a sweet story. And, congrats on your full :)

Colin - congrats to you and your wife!!

BJ Muntain said...

The way I am planning on navigating the slow pace of publishing: Making sure there are several more books in the queue so that further deals take less time.

Susan, from what I've learned of publishing contracts, if a book doesn't go through, what happens with the advance depends on whose fault that is.

If the author is overly late, or otherwise causes the book to not be published, then the author pays back the advance.

If the author fulfilled all demands placed on him or her in good faith but the publisher pulls the book anyway, then the author keeps the advance. The publisher forfeits that money by breaking the contract.


And happy anniversaries and birthdays to all to whom is applies!

Barbara Etlin said...

Congrats, Colin!

Anyone with kids or pets will tell you the necessity of patience.

The more queries you have out there, the easier it is to forget about them. Then, when someone responds, it's a pleasant surprise.

Susan said...

Colin, Julie, and BJ: Thanks to all of you for the input! I wish I could remember which way it went--if the blogger or the publisher nulled the contract--but it was a number of years ago. It certainly adds an interesting perspective to publishing as a business and the amount of risk publishers take on (or are willing to take on) for their authors.

Karen McCoy said...

Happy Anniversary, Colin! So true. "...make a decision, you weight the cost and live with the consequences." Learning this, every day, with the decision I made to move to California to take a job that I eventually lost...and getting to know life in uncertainty. I suppose this is good practice for when I'll be querying next year.

Now to stop worrying about money and where it comes from...

Julie Weathers said...

Congratulations, Colin. I know a nice dinner isn't England, but what a great gift to have your own home.

Cody, middle son just told me he and #59 Dirty Vegas will be in New York City January 6-8 for the bullriding. Hope his bull does well and I honestly can't imagine my cowboy child in NYC though dozens of them will be at Madison Square Garden. It's kind of ironic. My dad and uncle rode there many years ago. My uncle won the bronc riding and some people from Hollywood saw him. They wanted him to go west and make movies. He made a couple, but hated the lifestyle and went back to being a Montana cowboy.

Beth said...

John Davis Frain, I’ve submitted to an anthology. Submissions closed Aug. 31 and they were supposed to make their picks by Sept 30. Still waiting. They do occasionally post an update saying they received more submissions than expected so it’s taking longer, and since it’s taking longer, they’re still accepting submissions. Seems counterproductive to me, but whatever.

I agree with Rachel about the subheading nomination.

RosannaM, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. It’s all about expectations of how long the wait will be. I’d been keeping busy and waiting more-or-less patiently for more than six months. One Friday I got a hint the editor had read two stories she loved and there might be a sale on Monday. I knew she had two of mine. That was a looooong weekend, but it had a happy ending.

Melanie, I thank God for people like you, and congrats on the full. Fingers crossed.

Colin, congratulations. Yes, a house counts. Double. Enjoy your celebration.

Craig, I do see your point. Once again, expectations and lack of communication. I’ve sometimes wondered with things like permits. If it always takes six months, then at that point, they’re staying even. So, if they ever got caught up, they’d be able to stay even at one month instead. Likewise, if agents would just give up frivolous activities like sleeping and eating for a couple of months, they’d be all caught up and get back to writers quickly. At least until something else got in the way.

Donnaeve said...

RachelErin, ah yes, Goodreads. They're a different sort of crowd out there, quite harsh at times. I've been a member for years - but I've never been rude.

So, good point. If you really want your patience tested, let others attack your work, and realize there's not a darn thing you can do about it except - move on.

Donnaeve said...

Congrats to Melanie!

Happy Anniversary to Colin and wifey!

Steve Stubbs said...

I am astonished that your clients do these kinds of things on a regular basis and that you keep them as clients. You are one forbearing soul. If I were a client I would not want to annoy you at all. Maybe I am a wimp. But if I did get a nasty-gram I would want it to read something like this:

“Dear Ex-Client,

I am pissed to say that your MS,, UNREADABLE TIDBITS FROM AN INCREDIBLY BORING LIFE, has gone to auction and made me so damn much money that I abandoned my apartment in Brooklyn and moved to the Riviera, where I am currently entertaining the Duke of Paris at my personal chateau. Had I been warned that publishing was this lucrative, I would have operated a pushcart for a living instead. Now it is too late. If that is not infuriating enough, the owners of several local wineries have sent complimentary bottles of their best vintages and I am sitting here with a big smile on my face. To make matters worse, Brad Pitt stopped by just to give me a foot rub. He said any time I want another one, just whistle. I wish I had never heard of you and your damn manuscript. Why am I pissed off?

Because I am hard to please. That’s why.

I have high standards. I expect a lot from clients.

Sarah Palin may be able to see Vladimir Putin’;s dacha from her house but I can’t see Manhattan from anywhere around here.

I am miserable.

The essence of class is to display discernment.

And so ha!

Panda in Chief said...

Sigh...I really hate waiting, but I should be used to it by now. Back in the day when more public and corporate institutions were buying fine art (oh, how I miss those days), you send in your slides (!) and then you would wait for months and months to find out if something had sold. For public commissions the waits for each of the phases could be longer, adding up to years.

This does give me a little more insight into the wait times involved. Now that my graphic novel is out on submission, I was hoping things would move a little faster, but, hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Jokes on me. I finally quit obsessively checking my email and voicemail and started working on the next book in the series. It feels much better to be working. It also feels better to know that just because it hasn't sold yet, it doesn't mean it won't. I also submitted some things to some anthologies. Fingers crossed.

Susan, if I were in your shoes, I would do the same thing. (PS, just ordered your book a couple days ago and waiting to read it!)

Colin, you bought a house! Huzzah and happy anniversary. There will always be an England. Maybe next anniversary.

Cheers everyone.

JD Horn said...

Publishing is really a group effort.There are a lot of moving pieces, and it takes time to coordinate them.

kdjames.com said...

I imagine writerly impatience is a much bigger, or more prevalent, problem for agents and publishers than it used to be. As someone who has self-published and who also would like to go the trad route, I can see this being an issue for me. Which is different from it being a problem.

As with any choice, there are pros and cons. Trade-offs. The important thing is to understand and accept what you're getting into. It doesn't matter how you think someone else should/could do their job differently. It is what it is. If the perceived benefits don't outweigh the purported deficits, that choice isn't a good fit for you.

And how nice that we have a choice these days and are able to indulge in moaning and groaning about the differences between options.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

Theresa: Great minds think alike!

John Davis Frain in October, I got a rejection from a magazine...from my October '15 submission! I also have two submissions from July still pending. Other than that, my submissions are mostly from October ,and the 4 I've sent out in December (I have a problem, clearly).


Happy Anniversary Colin!

Elissa M said...

It takes me so long to write anything that I can't imagine being impatient about someone reading it. I'll just keep writing, revising, and querying until someone recognizes my brilliance and offers representation. Of course I'll contact agents with outstanding partials and fulls, but that's the only circumstance where I would put anyone on deadline.

Joseph Snoe said...

When I read the thread the other day I worried about the delay from an agent’s perspective.

As a writer, once I send the query, it’s out of my hands. I don’t fret over it. Until I get an offer of representation, all I can do is continue my life and wait. Once I have an agent, as long as they periodical update me, I’ll let him or her worry about finding a publisher.

If I have a publisher, I’ll bust my tail not to be the cause of any delays.
But if I was an agent, I think I’d read requested manuscripts as soon as possible. Several reasons. One is my make-up. If I take on an obligation to write, edit or read something, I feel guilty until I do it and do it right. It often takes my Friday nights and Sunday afternoons, and often the person I did it for does nothing with it, but my conscience is clear.

Second, and the big worry if I was an agent, the longer it takes to read a full manuscript, the greater the likelihood another agent will grab it. Using the list from yesterday and making wild assumptions, eight or more of the authors sending full submissions went with other agents. Assuming an agent could have signed just one of those if he or she read and liked the manuscript before the winning agent did, he or she would have been better off reading sooner.

Fifty manuscripts – That’s like fifty books. Yikes. My guess though is that many of those would be rejected long before they were fully read. That may leave 15 to 20 a year to be read to the grand finale. Still a lot. And that doesn’t count the agent’s reading and working to get his or her current clients’ manuscripts ready for submission. Takes time, but delaying doesn’t make the stack any shorter (unless the author withdraws it, of course).

Joseph Snoe said...

Colin, I bet knowing you have done your best to be a good husband and father for twenty -five years is enough to bring joy to your wife’s heart. Of course, a nice dinner at a nice restaurant helps, too.

Kari Lynn Dell, you just sold me a book. Not sure which one yet, but I’ll choose one.

Melanie, Thanks for letting us in on your good news. I love positive stories.

Claire B. said...

I'm as guilty as the next writer of getting a little impatient waiting for answers sometimes. (In my defense, though, I'm still waiting to hear back from agents who asked for a full and two partials four years ago!) But I'd feel so differently if all the agents out there disclosed their submission time frames like Janet has done! Which makes me ask, yet again, why can't all agents communicate like Janet? It would still be mighty hard for debut authors to get published, but at least we'd have some idea how long we'd have to wait for answers.

MA Hudson said...

I agree with RosannaM - it's all about expectations. If I know something is going to take a long time then I can 'strategize'. The problem is, if you're a newbie you've got no idea how publishing works. If it wasn't for this blog I'd be out there making all the pesky mistakes that Janet so kindly, and PATIENTLY, warns us against.

Melanie - exciting news on the full. Got my fingers crossed for you.

Collin - big congrats on a quarter century of marriage. A think a house is a lovely present. Hope you wrapped it up in silver paper!

RachelErin - Happy Birthday. Hope it doesn't get swamped by Christmas prep.

Susan said...

Panda: That's so exciting! Thank you!

Rachel: I somehow missed it's your birthday. Happy (belated?) birthday!

Congratulations to everyone else with exciting happenings!