Monday, June 23, 2014

Question: the query process is going so well I gotta shout from the rooftops!


I've got a this-never-happens number of full manuscript requests - more requests than rejections. And I started out shooting for the stars, so these agents asking for fulls have some pretty awesome clients. Even got a revise and resubmit.

My question is I want so badly to brag about who's reading my manuscript right now and I'm not sure how much it's okay to tell the world. It seems bad form to post details like names and such on my blog, so I've stuck to telling my friends and family.

I know it's often bad PR to detail the querying process and whine about all the rejections, but what about when you want to celebrate these successes as you wait and cross your fingers for an offer? Should I stick to hinting that I've sent out full manuscripts, or can I say how many are out right now? Because I can't imagine agents would really want people knowing when they're reviewing a manuscript.

And I know you don't tell agents who else you've queried, or who else has the manuscript, but when I get to that point where I've got an offer and have to give the other agents with the manuscript the heads up, is there a point where I should be telling them how many other manuscripts are out there, etc?

And in the unlikely scenario that should I end up with a my-diamond-shoes-are-too-tight problem of fielding more than one offer, would you recommend asking to see the contract first, before deciding, or would that be rude, leading an agent on by getting them to send you a contract? Would you rather an author be blunt and say they've got multiple offers?

I'm delighted to hear that you're getting more requests for fulls than rejections. That's a terrific place to be in the query process and I hope you enjoy it to the fullest.

NONE of this goes on your blog, or on Twitter, or on Facebook. NONE.  

You share this good news with your crit group, your very close friends and family. And you do so in moderation.

The reason you do this is cause, while I don't want to rain on your parade, requests are not offers; offers are not sales; sales are not careers.  In other words, store up this joy for the long haul. You'll need it come winter, and trust me, George RR Martin was talking about publishing when he said "winter is coming."

The other reason is you don't want to create too much expectation on your blot/twitter/Facebook.  You start yammering about this now, and two weeks from now people will want to know when they can buy the book.  Don't squander your joy by spreading it out far and wide. Hang on to it; hold it close.

Keep up the good work, and keep mum.


Anonymous said...

I can so relate to this. It took me a while to learn to temper my words about my writing progress. Even to family. Of course, that doesn't stop them from asking, but my answers are bland, rather boring - and I wait until I have something specific to tell them before I tell them.


It's such a long process, with a lot of ups/downs. It makes it doubly hard, especially if sharing every single step, and then the outcome might not be what's expect. This is a little different, but for instance, last summer I'd sent in 100 pages of my newest endeavor to the freelance editor I use. My family knew she had it. Every single phone call I had with them began with "have you heard from the editor yet?" I was already on pins and needles, and it wore me out to say "not yet... not yet... not yet..." over and over. And then I got the message back from her - and she did NOT like the pages - at all. I had to tell everyone, when I would have much rather kept that bit of bad news to myself, and moved on.

It's not easy to keep quiet, but when I send something off now, I tell no one until I get the feedback - then I share it. Good/bad. This is just me, and how I do it, but I have found it helps.

John "Ol' Chumbucket" Baur said...

It's one of those lessons you learn the hard way – Don't brag about it until the papers are signed. Or even mention it casually. Twice I had manuscripts make it to the final meeting at publishers – one of them one of THE big houses, would have been a perfect home for the book. I couldn't stop myself from mentioning it with some pride to several friends – "I should get final word next week" After four months of silence the editor, for whom I'd done two full revisions, finally wrote back, "Oh, we decided it didn't fit our list. Thanks anyway."
Wait until the papers are signed. Then shout.

Elissa M said...

This makes me think of that fine old fable about counting chickens before the eggs are hatched.

It's awesome that you're getting lots of requests for fulls. That's definitely good news. But I have to agree with the Shark. This is just one step in a very long haul.

Savor the moment, but don't crow about it. Eggs can be very fragile (as can egos).

Colin Smith said...

If my query was doing *that* well, I'd be fit to burst. Heck, it's hard enough containing yourself when you get a personalized rejection! :)

Seriously, though, as usual the Shark advise is sound. As the US found out against Portugal last night, the game's not over until the final whistle blows. Save the celebration until it's a done deal.

F Duncan said...

You’d be better off shouting it from the rooftop if that would make you feel better. People will hear your shouting – if you live in a big city they might not even look up -- but they won’t fully understand what you say. And once you return to the ground floor, your words will not remain in big black letters against the sky, indelible, for people to point at and comment upon.

But blog, Twitter or Facebook? You have no control over what other people do with your words after you post. Just imagine the disastrous scenarios!

DLM said...

I remember my first request for a partial, and calling my mom immediately FROM the writers conference. That agent is someone I've talked with several times now; she is not for me, and that makes it easy, but it's impossible not to remember how shiny she was going to make EVERYTHING, like within a month.

I've blogged about my process and even some of the agents I've gotten more than a form response out of; the first one who asked for a revision two *years* ago, I still have never named. He was brilliantly smart, generous to provide really specific direction - I took it far too far - and I would not betray his generosity by gossiping.

I even have an interview on my blog with one agent it didn't happen with (he really didn't exist online before that, either - that post still gets hits all the time). I have another interview I ought to get out to another agent who is amazing, delightful, and does not rep my genre but requested a full anyway because she is a try-er. Didn't happen. She's no less delightful and worth interviewing.

"Moments" with agents along the way to The Agent are incredibly gratifying. Sometimes, not because they lead to six-figure deals, quitting The Day Job, international rights, and movie deals. Does that make them less gratifying? Hell no, not for me.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

One of the things which falls under "discretion is the better part of valor"....kind of.

Man. Two years ago, about, I signed with a "boutique press" to publish a collection of my short stories. I wish I'd been reading this blog then, because I never would've signed. And then they went under or reorganized or some such, and the rights reverted back to me anyway, so I feel as though I've dodged one of those big grinning bullets from Mario Brothers. But, point is, of course I told people I was Finally! Getting! Published! I had a cover and everything. We'd done the edits.

....and then I had to tell people I wasn't. Sigh.

Susan Bonifant said...

I've made that mistake, and for the same reason, the mistake of sharing a new story idea before I've developed it enough to discuss it. Some things I think just have to live with you alone, first.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Been there,signed,head of the publishing house loved, loved, loved it. Nine months later, the rights reverted back to me.
(And it was the head guy boys and girls, Pres. of the house.)

I shouted so often my friends and family were wearing ear muffs.

That was forty years ago. My mother cried more than I did. Sorry mom.

Luan said...

Best line ever. "You'll need it come winter, and trust me, George RR Martin was talking about publishing when he said "winter is coming."

MNye said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MNye said...
This comment has been removed by the author.