My agent tells me to be patient, but I haven’t heard anything from him in weeks. We have a half dozen manuscripts out to various publishers, but nothing seems to be happening and I’m not feeling loved. Why does it take so long? What happens after requested and submitted manuscripts reach an editor’s desk? When should a writer become discouraged after a submission? Weeks? Months? Years? If I don’t’ hear back from my agent in a couple of weeks, does that mean there is no interest in my project?
The answer to these questions is if you haven’t heard anything, then editors are probably still reading, pondering, and having and others read and ponder whether or not to offer a contract. The acquisition process can be a long and arduous one for just about everyone, including the editors and agents involved in it.
One of my clients recently asked me some of the questions listed above, and rather than repeat what others have already blogged about, let me point you to a blog post authored by Nathan Bransford a couple of years ago. Titled HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO SELL A NOVEL, this post gets right to the heart of the matter.
On a different subject, have you often wondered why some blog posts seem like fingernails scraped over a chalkboard or like scabs dug from an old wound? These posts seem to hit home in ways that nothing else does. If, as a writer, you’ve experienced posts like these, maybe you should examine why they make you angry. Is it possible the post’s author has hit too close to the truth? This appears to happen on our blog quite frequently. Some might think we revel in the fact that we can make others angry; however, this is not the case. We like that when something does strike home, authors let us know in no uncertain terms that our message has struck hard. Yes, getting too close can irritate; however, instead of being angry, first try to analyze why the message bothers you before composing a stinging comment in response.
Underlying themes seen over and over again on all agency blogs echo unanimously that writers need to learn and re-learn everything possible about the industry in which they someday hope to find their books. Yes, everyone loads up on writing advice, and they should, but all writers and especially those who hope to prosper through the sale of the written word, should remain current with what’s going on in publishing.
One of the best ways to keep abreast of the profession is to read the many agency blogs, one of which is authored by Bookends, LLC. Another is by Jennifer Jackson from Donald Maass Literary, and there are many more. Check out the list of great blogs from industry professionals on the home page of our blog, as well as the other blogs you visit. Information is the key to success and prosperity in the 21st century, so avail yourself of this free information and you may find some healing elixir for that which irritates and frustrates.