Wednesday, March 9, 2011

It's a Hurry Up And Wait Business With No Promises

Here is a science experiment for you. Take a funnel and fill it up with water really fast. What happens? Does the water come out of the smaller end at the same speed in which you poured it in the top? Obviously the answer is no. I wanted to use this analogy though to remind all of the writers out there of how the publishing business works. In this world, you are all part of that huge amount of fast pouring water that went in the top. The smaller end is made up of the editors and publisher.

Although you may have gotten a story written in record time and gotten it edited with your trusy critique group, the same cannot be said about those on this end. It is important to remember that the day you send in a submission to an agent, there is a huge chance that 20-100 other authors did the same thing. Honestly, as an agent, the email fills up some days as fast as Twitter updates.

So, we read the stories as they come in (at least I do). I start with the first ones in chronologically and move my way through. I do alternate between requested and new submissions but that is my process.

Now, let's add a new cog in the works. As agents, we already have established clients with projects that need assistance. That means your submission has just been pushed aside to take care of them. And yes, even with the current clients, we get hit with a huge rush at times. In fact, just about a month ago, 4 of my clients sent me fulls that needed a read through and they all came in within 2 days of each other. I will tell you it didn't help that I was sick then.

O.K., so now you have an agent and yes, the problem will continue. Now we send the projects out to editors and the whole waiting game begins again. In some places, your story may be read by 2 or 3 people before it is accepted. In some cases, they will do all of that, ask for revisions and then start it over again.

I know this sounds devestating, but even with all of this, there are no promises. Sometimes authors are given revisions and it just doesn't get executed. That happens.

The point is, just go with the flow. Don't obsess over the amount of time a project is out there. Yes, stay in contact with the person you sent it to. He or she might have lost it. We are all human. But please, don't start contacting them 1 week after you sent it to make sure they read it and when they want more.


1 comment:

  1. I have a critique partner shopping a women's fiction novel set in the PBR (Professional Bull Riding) and this is exactly what is fretting her right now.

    I'll be sure to pass this along!