Friday, October 18, 2013

Question: Who's looking at me?

What should you expect from your literary agent during the submission process to editors? Should you at some point receive a list of who they submitted to and any feedback/rejections from publishers, or should you expect to hear nothing from them (however long that is) until they receive an offer (if they do)?

How and what you want to hear is up to you.  My default practice is to send the submission list with ms status about once a month.  I send it on a spread sheet attached to an email.  What clients do with it after that is up to them.

 In the example above, (any editor comment) is where I cut and paste the editor's email about the ms in the db for the author.

However.  This is something you can and should talk to YOUR agent about.  If you want to be informed weekly, say so. If you don't want the rejection letters from editors, say so.

Here's the downside to sending submission stats to authors: often it means they want to go over each and every editor, discussing pros cons etc.  DO NOT  DO THIS unless you are starting to suspect your agent is an idiot.

I'm very willing to discuss submissions with my clients, don't get me wrong, but it's very easy to get
caught up in analysis and let the actual agenting work slide: getting on the phone, making calls, making sales.


Anonymous said...

The spreadsheet idea is awesome. I prefer knowing as much as is feasibly possible. It actually helps me to focus elsewhere instead of obsessing about where it is, and thinking the worst.

John "Ol' Chumbucket" Baur said...

The monthly spread sheet seems like a good balance. Too much info and you obsess. Not enough and you despair. It's definitely NOT a case where no news is good news, but too much isn't much better.

But it's like anything else in life – you've got to learn patience. I've had enough close calls with editors that I've learned not to let my emotions get carried away until there's *actual* news.

Unknown said...

Seems like a great system to me!

Janet, this summer, I wrote a blog for writers called THE AGENT CALL: A Table of Top 5 Questions & Answers.

I just updated the blog with a link to this post.
Hope you won't mind.
Here's the link if you'd like to check:


J E Oneil said...

I'm always a fan of using spreadsheets to keep track of things. Although I'm not sure why you'd have to keep track of where you're getting your dino porn from. It seems like something you wouldn't want to keep records of.

Claude Forthomme said...

I see you are still in sharky top form! Great idea, I've used spreadsheet a lot in the 25 years I worked for the United Nations.

By the way, I hadn't checked in for a while on your blog but I see your blog is sparkling, you're true to form as ever and full of information. Who wouldn't love to a have a sharky, tough agent like you?