Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Things Take Time

I was thinking about this yesterday morning and it got me thinking about publishing. Our local NPR station was focusing on election coverage (like I am sure everyone is doing) and they were intereviewing people that were upset that they aren't back to where they were economically before the crash hit.

Like many of you out there, I wish things were better as well. Things are simply tough. But, with that said, I think it is important to stress that things take time. It took us several years to get into the financial mess the country is in. It wasn't something that happened overnight and it is certainly not something that will change immediately overnight.

If we look at history, there are many countries around the world that have faced huge shifts in how they do things. I have always been shocked when I see countries "freaking out" because a change happened and they expected immediate results. Countries move to a democratic style of government and suddenly there is an expectation that they will move from a 3rd world nation to a member of the G whatever number. It's simply not going to happen.

We all seem to forget that this country was created in the 18th century. It took time to get here.

Now, with all of that said, what is the connection to publishing? The same thing. This business takes time.

It took you how many months to write that book? You send off a project to an editor or an agent and expect an immediate response. Look, it will take time! There isn't just one of you out there but a lot of people writing and submitting.

This business takes patience.

One of the things that I have been complimented on by numerous editors is the fact that I don't push them like other editors do. They need the time to get to a story. Now, does this mean that I just sit back and wait? No. I do call and make sure I am still on the radar. But, I am not going to expect immediate responses.

Nor should you!

Be diligent. Pay attention to the calendar, but remember that it will take us time to get to your project.


  1. I spent years praying for patience because being impatient makes for early wrinkles... and ulcers. Then, I was bit by the writing bug and I'm pretty sure this is the answer to those prayers because I am forced into patience. No wonder so many writers do yoga LOL. ooommmmmmmm

  2. Dear Mr. Eagan,

    The article is very well written and reiterates the reason my father took me fishing so many times before. I remember reeling the pole in every few minutes, wishing something would bite. My father would laugh, letting a dirty cigarette hang askew from his mouth and laying back. With different squirming baits, sharp hooks, bright bobbers and dull-colored weights, I got no closer to catching a slimy fish than my father got to catching airplanes.

    At the end of the day, my father always had his limit of rainbow trout.

    Not being one to give up, I decided that enough was enough. Watching my father all day, I mimicked his every move--which turned out to be very little movement at all. Back then, I may only been seven or eight and my father didn't help me a bit. He left me to my own devices and waited for me to learn.

    When I stopped moving the pole, I stopped scaring the fish. I learned the difference between a nibble and a bite. Most importantly, I learned that patience will always be rewarded. It is very rewarding to watch my own children dash to the water, anticipating the proud feeling of capturing dinner while learning lessons for life.

    Great blog! Agents and editors have it hard, with giant piles of thankless work and email boxes filling with "Why not me?" or "Did you read my story yet?"

    Thank you for the wonderful work and good outlook for the future.

    Draven Ames

  3. I'm so pleased you've focused on submission expectations and hope you'll be willing to expand that to submission etiquette.

    **Theres an online debate right now on whether its considered rude for an agent to ask a writer which other agents are offering representation (personally I'm all for full disclosure--but I won't ask you to weigh in on that one!) Along a similiar line, though, if a writer and agent are in serious negotiations for representation, is is considered rude for the writer to ask for recommendations from the agent's other clients?

    **When an agent requests a full, what is an appropriate turn around time for the writer? I've heard recently during a conference from a panel of editors/agents that an immediate turn around might convey the impression that the writer is careless, but wouldn't too much lag time project the same attitude?

    **I've noticed that most of my favorite writers have an extensive English education background (coincidental? hmmmmm) While I will do everything I can to produce quality, clean copy, how much does the occasional grammatical error in a submission sway your opinion? Will a fresh idea and voice carry a submission that might be slightly weak in craft?

    Thanks for your input.