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View Full Version : Should I call an agent re: status of my submission?



macandal
05-03-2005, 01:15 AM
My story is perhaps a bit different than others. I had an agent. Yes, had, when I graduated from school. To keep things brief (and please spare me the "why didn't yous" and "you shoul'ves" believe me, I've kicked myself over this many times over the years) let's just say that I graduated from school 9 years ago and got an agent. My novel wasn't quite finished so, between working and family commitments, I managed to finish it 9 years after I graduated. Throughout this time, I only contacted my agent one time and we were still on. Well, when I finally finished my novel I was uncertain as to whether I still had an agent or not. I flew to NYC (I live in the West Coast) to see her and I did. Feeling very embarrassed I re-introduced myself. Surprisingly, she recognized me and asked what had happened to me. In short, I told her that I should've kept in touch but didn't but that all those years I had been writing. This was October 2004 when I went to see her. I was still tweaking with my novel so I had removed about 20% of the novel and I brought with me the remaining. She was very kind with me, reassuring me that I was not the first, nor would I be the last, writer to disappear. "That's what writers do," she said to me. Like I said, all along she was very kind; she never made me feel uncomfortable. I told her I could leave with her the 80% of my novel I had with me but she said "No, give it to me when you have it all." I left NYC feeling better. It appeared I no longer had an agent but I wasn't out in the streets--so to spead--either. Fast forward 6 months later, the end of April (last week to be exact), when I finally sent her the completed novel. She's had it with her approximately one week. In my situation, do you think it is wise to call her to ask for status update or should I just sit back and let her get back to me at her convenience? Thanks a lot.

ritinrider
05-03-2005, 01:42 AM
I've never had an agent, so I may not be the best person to listen to. I'm sure someone with more experience will chime in. In the meantime; a week is not very long for an agent, in any situatation. Personally, I'd let it rest for a month or so and contact her then. That said, it probably wouldn't hurt to drop her an email or something just to check that she actually received the mss.


my two cents worth.
Nita

Chacounne
05-03-2005, 04:42 AM
I completely agree with Nita; a week is a blink of an eye to many people. I know it's difficult to wait, but relax for about a month then email her.

Good luck!
Chacounne

macandal
05-04-2005, 09:53 PM
So it seems that, as long as I just called to ask if the ms was received and not about the status of my submission then I won't seem like a pest. That's really all I wanted to know, if the agent received what I sent to her. In any case, if I call, I'll probably get her assistant.

hunterwoman75
06-04-2005, 03:46 AM
I must say that you are extremely lucky to have an agent that after 9 years remembers you and still will take you on.

One thing that you must remember that when submitting to an agent or a publisher for that matter is that it takes usually 3 months to hear a yes or no.

I have no patience and time ticks slowly when you are watching the clock. What I do is write on the calender three months from submission date that I should hear back from the publisher or agent and then I forget about whether or not I should be calling or extra. Finding something else to write is a good way to kill the antcipation. If you can't think of anything else to write about try reading Ray Bradbury's Zen in the art of writing.

I didn't know what i was going to write about this year and started reading his book and I didn't even finish it and I have come up with a series of books to write about all related to the story of a brother and sister.

Something else that works is watching people at the park, baseball games etc, etc. Creating character sketches of people or their mannerisms will help in future books that you will write.

I wish you the best of luck in curbing antcipation.

Hunterwoman75

Vanessa
06-04-2005, 04:06 AM
I'd definitely wait it out. I agree with everyone else that a week is small change in the timeframe it takes for an agent to respond. Good thing is, she's obviously still interested. That's a plus. Keep us posted. Good Luck.

macandal
06-04-2005, 04:47 AM
Funny, at the same time you guys were responding to my post, they were turning me down. Actually, the agent I had spoken with passed it on on her assistant who just turned me down because even though he "found the premise to be interesting, and [he's] always looking for a novel that incorporates Latin America, [he] just wasn't enamored enough with the writing to take this project on. [He's] sure [I'll] find another home for this and wish[es me] much success in doing so."

So that's that. Oh well, at least she remembered me enough to pass my novel onto an assistant.

hunterwoman75
06-04-2005, 06:50 AM
So sorry to hear the bad news. Something that you may want to try, I don't know if you have or not is to have a freelance editor edit your work. I use one all them and she's great.

have a great day,

Hunterwoman75

Vanessa
06-04-2005, 08:18 AM
Funny, at the same time you guys were responding to my post, they were turning me down. Actually, the agent I had spoken with passed it on on her assistant who just turned me down because even though he "found the premise to be interesting, and [he's] always looking for a novel that incorporates Latin America, [he] just wasn't enamored enough with the writing to take this project on. [He's] sure [I'll] find another home for this and wish[es me] much success in doing so."

So that's that. Oh well, at least she remembered me enough to pass my novel onto an assistant.

Really sorry to hear this. But hey, it doesn't stop there. You know the routine, rejection is the thing we pass many times while traveling the road to success. Keep doing what you do, and follow your heart.

macandal
06-07-2005, 09:41 PM
So sorry to hear the bad news. Something that you may want to try, I don't know if you have or not is to have a freelance editor edit your work. I use one all them and she's great.

have a great day,

Hunterwoman75

It's funny hunterwoman, up until the agent rejected me I felt very confident (not overconfident or cocky) that the novel was finished. When I received the rejection I began questioning myself. What if I was just fooling myself into thinking that it was finished when in fact the novel needed more work? Is it common to question oneself after a rejection from an agent? How does one know when one's novel is finished? I thought I knew but now I am a pile of self-doubt. I look at editors with a bit of disdain (although in the process of writing my novel I wished I had had someone to look it over). I am paying them to look at my novel but then can I trust them to be honest or are they just after my money? What I mean about this is, let's say my novel is done, will the editor tell me so or will he/she tell me the novel needs more work just to drain some more money from me? I am willing to pay, but how do you find a very, very, very honest and good editor? Thanks.

Liam Jackson
06-08-2005, 12:42 AM
Most writers go through the self-doubt thing. I still go through it and I'm sitting on signed contracts. I expect to find out just any day the publisher awoke from a coma up and realized I had fooled them. If the agent's assistant says the writing didn't grab them, that means one person wasn't "grabbed." The agent apparently thought enough of the work's potential to pass it along for a second read. My first suggestion is to put the ms away for a month, then drag it out and read with a fresh eye. Sometimes a lag will provide you with a MUCH clearer perspective. Then, clean it up and resubmit.

If you still decide to go with an editior, or want to research some, PM me. I can point you toward two or three very good editors with solid track records. It will be up to you to make contact with them and decide for yourself if one of them offers what you need.

Best of luck.

LJ

Tish Davidson
06-08-2005, 01:02 AM
You are foolish if you allow the rejection of one agent's assistant to make you question whether your novel is ready to find an agent. Research other agents, write a synopsis, and send your baby out into the world a few more times to see what happens before you start tinkering or pay for editing services.

Caty
07-23-2005, 06:22 AM
I tweaked and tweaked with my finished m/s until I had butchered it bloody. I'm lucky that I know a working editor on a personal level and she agreed to have a look at it. It came back yesterday and I can't believe the difference a fresh professional eye has made to it. She loved it and was with me all the way in what I wanted for the book. She hasn't lost anything I cared about. It's hard to hand over your work for someone else to criticise but really if we want to sell it we have to bite the bullet. I can't remember who said it, but its true. "If you feel you were guided by Spirit to write this book, let someone else edit it or no one but you and Spirit will read it"
Good luck in finding the right editor for your work.

Jenny
07-28-2005, 04:53 AM
Um, didn't Uncle Jim say something about editors - how if they're not the ones paying you, why use them? (Ok so that's my interpretation) Mac, be careful about having an editor smooth out your prose. If you've got a clear voice, a strong story (and the assistant did think you'd place the novel) is a freelance editor really going to help? And now I'll run away before eveyone screams at me.