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3Dynamic
08-03-2013, 11:51 AM
Please allow me to ask for advice and forgive me if, in my delusion of self-importance (I have many such delusions), I feel the need to keep names to myself.

First off, I cannot seem to write a query letter if my life depends on it. Yes, I had some initial success last October. I had a very good interaction with an AGENT FROM WRITER’S HOUSE (AWH) – perhaps it was luck. I promised him I would not recontact him if he gave me advice. I have implemented all his advice, but then it has been a string of query failures; but with three exceptions (of the hundreds - 100) – and those are what drive this solicitation for advice.

From a query I sent a long long time ago, I heard from HIGHLY RECOMMENDED AGENT (HRA) and he asked for the full manuscript and told me in June that he would read it “before the middle of July.”

Now, note that I am 55 years old and while I have an excellent career in engineering (just signed with a company for a textbook), I have absolutely no experience in fiction. So, my more reasonable self understands why HRA would put this manuscript on the backburner.

Note also, that I am an impatient pest. And you know what pests do? They remind HRA to read their work. (As an aside, I also broke my promise to AWH and re-contacted him, but he ignores me -- I don't blame him as I would, too.)

And HRA continues to set it on the back burner (which is understandable because I really am a pest).

Now one dark and stormy night last week, I notice a similar novel to mine reviewed in the NY Times (but different enough not to cause me to get a lawyer or hit the vodka). So I research the author, then the author’s agent and then a close friend of the agent who happens to be REALLY IMPORTANT OFFICIAL OF MAJOR PUBLISHING HOUSE (RIOMPH). And I notice that RIOMPH and I have a similar life story (and that life story is, partly, what my fiction novel is about).

So what does IMPATIENT ASSHOLE ME (I-AM) do? I email RIOMPH and give him a focused query. And gee golly whiz, he emails me a gracious letter and ask me to send him the manuscript which he says he will read by the end of August. So far, so good.

Then I (continuing to be the asshole) email HRA and tell him about RIOMPH. I ask him if he is still willing to read the manuscript and advise me on fixes and help me. And HRA’s response is ambiguous. He apologizes for the delay, says he had been extremely busy (and I believe him). He praises me for making this contact with RIOMPH (our life story similarities really justified this). Then he ends his email with “Yes, I am on-board with you. I will try to read it shortly.”

On-board? WTF?

And we left it at that. He never said “I will sign you.”

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, from a query sent five months ago (believe me, I have sent hundreds since an initial and unique success in October) , I get a request for the manuscript from MEDIORCRE AGENT WITH NO RECENT SALES (MANRS).

So… what do I do?

Do I re-contact that AWH with news about RIOMPH?

Do I send the manuscript to MANRS (knowing I have other pots on the fire)?

Do I email HRA, again (I think he accepts my pestilence by now) and ask if he will sign me (I should have been more specific)?

Or do I do what normal, mentally stable person would do, and wait until I hear from RIOMPH at the end of August?

(Now there is no need to insult me. I know I am an impatient asshole. You have seen the subject line: three agents, a publisher and an asshole – so you should be able to figure out who is the asshole here. And maybe I am just trying to sound off so I can hear myself think. But should I wait this out? That email from that one publisher might help me get an agent for possible future publishers. And that mediocre agent did request it. And access to this publisher can enable me to open the door to that agent from Writer’s House. And this current important agent never really said he would sign me – he’s just “onboard.”)

Right now, I think I just want to shut the fuck up and hit the vodka.

cornflake
08-03-2013, 12:10 PM
Please allow me to ask for advice and forgive me if, in my delusion of self-importance (I have many such delusions), I feel the need to keep names to myself.

First off, I cannot seem to write a query letter if my life depends on it. Yes, I had some initial success last October. I had a very good interaction with an AGENT FROM WRITER’S HOUSE (AWH) – perhaps it was luck. I promised him I would not recontact him if he gave me advice. I have implemented all his advice, but then it has been a string of query failures; but with three exceptions (of the hundreds - 400) – and those are what drive this solicitation for advice.

From a query I sent a long long time ago, I heard from HIGHLY RECOMMENDED AGENT (HRA) and he asked for the full manuscript and told me in June that he would read it “before the middle of July.”

Now, note that I am 55 years old and while I have an excellent career in engineering (just signed with a company for a textbook), I have absolutely no experience in fiction. So, my more reasonable self understands why HRA would put this manuscript on the backburner.

Note also, that I am an impatient pest. And you know what pests do? They remind HRA to read their work. (As an aside, I also broke my promise to AWH and re-contacted him, but he ignores me -- I don't blame him as I would, too.)

And HRA continues to set it on the back burner (which is understandable because I really am a pest).

Now one dark and stormy night last week, I notice a similar novel to mine reviewed in the NY Times (but different enough not to cause me to get a lawyer or hit the vodka). So I research the author, then the author’s agent and then a close friend of the agent who happens to be REALLY IMPORTANT OFFICIAL OF MAJOR PUBLISHING HOUSE (RIOMPH). And I notice that RIOMPH and I have a similar life story (and that life story is, partly, what my fiction novel is about).

So what does IMPATIENT ASSHOLE ME (I-AM) do? I email RIOMPH and give him a focused query. And gee golly whiz, he emails me a gracious letter and ask me to send him the manuscript which he says he will read by the end of August. So far, so good.

Then I (continuing to be the asshole) email HRA and tell him about RIOMPH. I ask him if he is still willing to read the manuscript and advise me on fixes and help me. And HRA’s response is ambiguous. He apologizes for the delay, says he had been extremely busy (and I believe him). He praises me for making this contact with RIOMPH (our life story similarities really justified this). Then he ends his email with “Yes, I am on-board with you. I will try to read it shortly.”

On-board? WTF?

And we left it at that. He never said “I will sign you.”

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, from a query sent five months ago (believe me, I have sent hundreds since an initial and unique success in October) , I get a request for the manuscript from MEDIORCRE AGENT WITH NO RECENT SALES (MANRS).

So… what do I do?

Do I re-contact that AWH with news about RIOMPH?

Do I send the manuscript to MANRS (knowing I have other pots on the fire)?

Do I email HRA, again (I think he accepts my pestilence by now) and ask if he will sign me (I should have been more specific)?

Or do I do what normal, mentally stable person would do, and wait until I hear from RIOMPH at the end of August?

(Now there is no need to insult me. I know I am an impatient asshole. You have seen the subject line: three agents, a publisher and an asshole – so you should be able to figure out who is the asshole here. And maybe I am just trying to sound off so I can hear myself think. But should I wait this out? That email from that one publisher might help me get an agent for possible future publishers. And that mediocre agent did request it. And access to this publisher can enable me to open the door to that agent from Writer’s House. And this current important agent never really said he would sign me – he’s just “onboard.”)

Right now, I think I just want to shut the fuck up and hit the vodka.

I honestly don't even think I understand some of this, specifically the bolded portions.

Someone said he'd read it mid-July. It's currently like August 2 and you already emailed him to ask if he'd read it yet?

Maybe he had and just hadn't gotten the hell back to you the nanosecond he did? Maybe he started and put it down to do other stuff, like work for his actual clients? Maybe he hated it?

Then, you randomly email someone at a publishing house, which will tend to put agents right off, and actually hear back. When that guy actually requests your ms. and says he'll read it in AUGUST (again, it's currently like August 2) you go back to the agent - WHY?!

First, to tell him that you're going to publishers? That's not the best idea. Then to ask if he'll read it, when he's apparently told you he would at least two or three times, and help you fix it?? When you're not his client and may have burned a bridge he could've used were you his client - when you don't even know if the guy at the publishing house will want anything to do with it? WHY?

As to the 'on-board' thing - no he didn't offer to sign you, he hasn't even read the f'ing ms. yet. What agent would offer to sign an unknown author whose ms. he hasn't read?

The whole "I'm a pest/impatient/asshole' thing isn't like, cute, if that's the way you mean it. It's coming off to me like a reality tv 'star' always with the 'I'm just me, at least I'm honest! I can't help it if she didn't like when I called her a fat, ugly skank, I'm just honest, that's how I am!' Like, stop it or don't, but going on about it like you have zero control over your own behaviour when you're apparently an adult is really, really offputting.

3Dynamic
08-03-2013, 12:22 PM
OK, so that is the slap of cold water I needed for reason.

I'll try to wait this one out and not interfere.

And I'm sorry for trying to sound cute. I am working around the clock on the textbook. And every now and then a window opens of three or four hours when I have no textbook drafting, no teaching or consulting. And in that window, I sit and stress and wonder about why I am not hearing. I should just learn to chill out and relax. But I cannot... I am inpatient.

mccardey
08-03-2013, 12:43 PM
My advice - what the cornflake said, and don't hit the vodka. And if you do hit the vodka - for heaven's sake, give your computer to a trusted friend first and say "Hey, don't let me drive this..."

Publishing time is glacial. It really is.

Meditation is your friend. Also, jogging is good. (I hear - I've never done it... ;) )

cornflake
08-03-2013, 12:47 PM
OK, so that is the slap of cold water I needed for reason.

I'll try to wait this one out and not interfere.

And I'm sorry for trying to sound cute. I am working around the clock on the textbook. And every now and then a window opens of three or four hours when I have no textbook drafting, no teaching or consulting. And in that window, I sit and stress and wonder about why I am not hearing. I should just learn to chill out and relax. But I cannot... I am inpatient.

Seriously, no offense, but I don't read impatient from any of this. The way it reads sounds more like hypomanic with a side of something else.

frankiebrown
08-03-2013, 03:53 PM
Send your manuscript to the agent who requested along with a gracious thanks for their interest. Don't email anybody else.

I know you've gotta be excited. But, as cornflake said, publishing is glacial.

"Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet."

Undercover
08-03-2013, 05:46 PM
Ya, I hear ya. I'm impatient too, like sickly and worrisome impatient. But you gotta job, so that's cool. Just think about those writers that don't have jobs and stay at home, thinking about getting an email ALL.DAY.Lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng.

It sucks. I get it. But you know this isn't a healthy behavior, nudging them and nudging them. They're gonna get turned off eventually if it gets out of hand. I had one publisher a while back that was interested in one of my mss. It was like a 6 month thing. After about two months, I nudged. She got back to me right away and said she was reading it, and liked what she read so far. Well I nudged again after about two months and she got back to me a few days later and wanted an R&R and I was so elated. I was horribly eager, too eager to revise and fix it and send it back. It only took me two weeks to blast my mind on revisions. I sent it to them on a Friday and had this little doubtful seed growing in my head that she didn't recieve it, so I emailed her back on monday kindly asking if she got it okay. Well it was like night and day. She emailed me right back and declined it on the spot. She said I was too hasty with my revisions and it was bad form I emailed her that much. I was devastated. I even looked at all my emails out of six months, and it was only about 5 or 6 total and that was including talking about revisions.

Maybe I emailed her too much, maybe I didn't. But that set me straight. Now if someone asks me for a R&R I take my sweet ass time. Even if I finish, I wait to send it in. Once I do, I try to forget about it for at least three months. I do start to get antsy after that and may nudge once. But if they respond saying they are still looking at it, I wait at least another three months to nudge again.

My point is, you HAVE to be patient, otherwise if you're a pest these people will get majorly turned off. Even if they like your book, they still might not want to work with you because of that type of behavior.

Jennifer_Laughran
08-03-2013, 06:00 PM
YES, send the ms to the agent who requested it. NO, you don't need to tell the other agents or publishers that anyone else requested it. YES YOU SHOULD STOP EMAILING THEM.

* As an agent, I assume you are sending your work out and getting it read and people are liking it. It's good, right? Hell, it's AWESOME. You SHOULD be getting requests.

* If you update me every time you send out a full, it's irritating. I don't care if other people have the full -- of course they do (see above).

* Email me when you get an actual OFFER OF REPRESENTATION. Then I'll hurry especially for you, and you're allowed to set a drop-dead read-by date and hold me to it. Other than that, sorry, existing clients have to come first.

Amadan
08-03-2013, 06:00 PM
It sounds like you've gotten some promising nibbles of interest. Now you need to sit on your hands for a while.

JulianneQJohnson
08-03-2013, 06:07 PM
Impatient isn't going to help you. Continually nudging agents, etc, isn't going to help you. Being an ass isn't going to help you, it's going to make agents wonder if they really want to work with you. What you should be doing during the long, long, querying cycle is starting the next book. That will keep you busy and keep you from driving agents away with your constant poking and prodding. You could also write some short stories and try to find a market for them. That would build your writing credits and make you more marketable.

waylander
08-03-2013, 07:02 PM
What you should be doing during the long, long, querying cycle is starting the next book. That will keep you busy and keep you from driving agents away with your constant poking and prodding. You could also write some short stories and try to find a market for them. That would build your writing credits and make you more marketable.

QFT
One of the first questions an agent will ask you is 'what else have you got?', they want a writer who is going to have a continuing career so you answer should be 'I've got half a new novel written, two more planned.'