PDA

View Full Version : Why agent wouldn't respond after asking for a full



Jbeckham
04-17-2015, 01:51 AM
How common is it for an agent to ask for a full manuscript for a novel, say he will get back with a decision in 2-3 weeks, and then not respond, even after a follow-up e-mail? (It's been two months.)

Sage
04-17-2015, 02:02 AM
All publishing deadlines are soft on the other side. I wouldn't assume he's not going to respond. I would assume it's taking him longer than expected. Sometimes life gets in the way, and reading fulls is a secondary task in the agenting duties, so agents can fall behind.

Putputt
04-17-2015, 03:06 AM
Getting more and more common, I think. :-/ I had quite a few no-responses to full requests even after I nudged them, saying I had an offer from an agent. I think it's such bullshit that some agents just don't bother replying at all, but it at least tells you something about their work ethics.

blacbird
04-17-2015, 03:54 AM
Two months on the publishing clock is about two seconds on a standard timepiece.

caw

Marian Perera
04-17-2015, 04:02 AM
It's happened to me twice, though at least in one case, I wasn't the only person. The agent requested hundreds of fulls and then went MIA. New agent, but in a reputable, established agency.

I don't like this practice, but as Putters said, it tells you something about them. I'm not likely to query the other agent again either.

William Green
04-17-2015, 05:12 AM
I had an agent request my full manuscript. I assumed it would be a few months before hearing back, but then I saw her doing a webcast in which she stated that her response time is two months and if it had been longer then people should "nudge her". It had been over three months so I emailed her a polite "nudge". That email was over three months ago and I never got a response. I just roll my eyes.

jjdebenedictis
04-17-2015, 05:56 AM
Honestly, just assume their answer is no and keep querying. Yes, it sucks to get your hopes up and then hear naught but the empty whistle of the limitless vacuum, but since you can't control how the agent behaves, control how you respond to it. It's just a different type of form rejection letter; (mentally) file it and carry on, unbowed.

blacbird
04-17-2015, 06:04 AM
I assumed it would be a few months before hearing back,

There's your error: incorrect assumption.

I used to assume I'd get a rejection for every submission. I was 100% correct, until I started getting no response at all. Now I assume that will happen. Since then, i have also been 100% correct.

These days I mainly submit to the recycle bin on my computer. It at least accepts everything.

caw

Maze Runner
04-17-2015, 07:07 AM
I've had that happen twice. Nudged both, still nothing, and that's when I assumed both were rejections. Just got a funny one a few minutes ago from a top agent. It started out, "You are a very interesting writer, but..." She only had the first chapter, which has since been revised, so I'll tell myself that, 'See, if she would have gotten the cleaner, new and improved chapter it would have been a whole different story. Delusion, it comes in handy.

Norman D Gutter
04-17-2015, 06:34 PM
I think it's been around 8 full or partial manuscripts that I've submitted to agents at their request over the years. In all cases but one, they never responded until I sent them a reminder. One agent, when I saw him six months later at a different conference, asked me to e-mail him a reminder weekly to get me an answer. I decided not to demean myself like that.

Phaeal
04-17-2015, 06:36 PM
Whenever I get a "You're an interesting writer" rejection, I wonder, "Um, Hilary Mantel interesting or Jeffrey Dahmer interesting?"

Anyhow. I had a couple fulls out for eight months, no response to nudges, but when I wrote to say I'd gotten another agent, never mind, I got INSTANT congrats emails.

I felt good to have afforded those agents such deep relief. ;)

Bottom line: Nudge once. No response? Forget about it unless you gave an exclusive. In that case, nudge once after exclusive deadline, pause a week, then write to say you consider the exclusive period over.

Maze Runner
04-17-2015, 09:37 PM
Whenever I get a "You're an interesting writer" rejection, I wonder, "Um, Hilary Mantel interesting or Jeffrey Dahmer interesting?"

Anyhow. I had a couple fulls out for eight months, no response to nudges, but when I wrote to say I'd gotten another agent, never mind, I got INSTANT congrats emails.



Oh, so "interesting writer" is just another form of a form rejection? Nice, and here I was thinking it meant something. Figures.

Yeah, it's funny how they were all of a sudden not to busy to respond to that. I think, on this forum, we go way out of our way to give agents the benefit of the doubt. They're busy, they're buried under submissions, but I do have to admit that there are times when I wonder where that ends and good old fashioned entitlement and lack of consideration take over. It's the rare person, I've found, in any business, who doesn't take some advantage of a position of authority.

hester
04-17-2015, 09:57 PM
LOL Phael!

Response times for full manuscripts vary widely, but, in general, I'd say three to four months is typical (everyone's mileage varies, obviously, and a lot depends on what's going on in the agent's life--dealing with existing clients, going to conferences/book fairs, reading through queries and requests, etc.). Just hang tight, and keep sending those queries!

angeliz2k
04-17-2015, 10:23 PM
Luckily, I got responses to all the fulls I sent. Some were form or form-ish rejections, but at least they were responses. In my opinion, it is not optional for an agent to respond to full manuscripts; it's compulsory. They requested it. They showed interest. It's their responsibility to respond. Period. To not do so shows a nasty lack of respect for the author.

My job is basically to remind people to do stuff they already agreed to do (review scientific research papers). It's remarkable how often I send reminder after reminder and then finally move on without them; I send them a note saying that we made a decision without their input, and voila! they reappear like magic within ten minutes to say, "Oh, sorry, I was on vacation!" [which of course makes you wonder why they agreed to help in the first place].

ETA: To the OP, the agent was probably being optimistic with the 2-3 weeks. It's typical to give an agent at least three months for a full; some say six months.

jjdebenedictis
04-17-2015, 10:45 PM
I do have to admit that there are times when I wonder where that ends and good old fashioned entitlement and lack of consideration take over. It's the rare person, I've found, in any business, who doesn't take some advantage of a position of authority.


They requested it. They showed interest. It's their responsibility to respond. Period. To not do so shows a nasty lack of respect for the author.
The grumpiness might be warranted, or it might be utterly unfair to the agent, but regardless, I think it's only self-harming when you allow yourself to get bitter about this stuff.

It's like letting your mood be dictated by the weather. Stay in control of the stuff you're in control of (your emotions, your writing, how relentlessly you keep querying) and let go of the stuff you're not in control of (other people's actions.) Getting mad at someone else's flakiness does not improve their flakiness, nor does it make you feel better. If your reaction will improve nothing about the situation, then figure out how react differently.

Maze Runner
04-17-2015, 11:01 PM
The grumpiness might be warranted, or it might be utterly unfair to the agent, but regardless, I think it's only self-harming when you allow yourself to get bitter about this stuff.

It's like letting your mood be dictated by the weather. Stay in control of the stuff you're in control of (your emotions, your writing, how relentlessly you keep querying) and let go of the stuff you're not in control of (other people's actions.) Getting mad at someone else's flakiness does not improve their flakiness, nor does it make you feel better. If your reaction will improve nothing about the situation, then figure out how react differently.

Yeah, not really grumpy about it, and not yet bitter, I hope, but I try to be considerate of people, even in a business situation where I'm the one with the leverage. And I just get disappointed when people don't conduct themselves that way. It's just the decent way to be. Human nature, I guess. It's always obvious to me who's holding the better hand at any given moment in a business situation. And almost always, one party needs the other more than the other needs them. To not take the classy route has always struck me as so utterly human that it's embarrassing.

Seriously though, someone requests a full and they can't be bothered to tell you "No" or "yes" or "go to hell", and I just think that stinks. Sorry.

Samsonet
04-17-2015, 11:55 PM
Are you sure they're not trying to figure out who they'd sell it to, or stuff like that, and it's taking this long because they're about to accept it?

That didn't occur to me yesterday, but today a comment on Janet Reid's blog mentioned an agent who was taking a while because she was loved the manuscript, was showing it to her boss, etc.

Then the author sent a snarky checkup email asking why they were taking so darn long when all the other agents got back to him in their stated time period.

The agent promptly emailed him a form rejection.

Maze Runner
04-18-2015, 12:02 AM
Are you sure they're not trying to figure out who they'd sell it to, or stuff like that, and it's taking this long because they're about to accept it?

That didn't occur to me yesterday, but today a comment on Janet Reid's blog mentioned an agent who was taking a while because she was loved the manuscript, was showing it to her boss, etc.

Then the author sent a snarky checkup email asking why they were taking so darn long when all the other agents got back to him in their stated time period.

The agent promptly emailed him a form rejection.

Well, in my case, this is going back to the last (first) book I wrote, so I'm talking a long time ago.

But I'm struck by how childish that is for them to reject someone just because they sent a "snarky" or maybe just impatient email. I'd have to see the email to know how I really feel about. There is snarky, there is impatient, and then there is also rude and even abusive--which would seem to anyone, agent or not, a sign that this person is going to be a problem and better to cut and run now.

Putputt
04-18-2015, 12:05 AM
Seriously though, someone requests a full and they can't be bothered to tell you "No" or "yes" or "go to hell", and I just think that stinks. Sorry.

It really does. I try not to get bitter about it, but I do roll my eyes a lot when I hear about these things. Also when I hear about agents being flaky with deadlines (http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/agent-protocol-question-missed-deadlines.html). There are few other industries where such unprofessional behavior towards clients and potential clients is so widely accepted.


Well, in my case, this is going back to the last (first) book I wrote, so I'm talking a long time ago.

But I'm struck by how childish that is for them to reject someone just because they sent a "snarky" or maybe just impatient email. I'd have to see the email to know how I really feel about. There is snarky, there is impatient, and then there is also rude and even abusive--which would seem to anyone, agent or not, a sign that this person is going to be a problem and better to cut and run now.

I don't think it's "childish" to form reject someone for being snarky though. Think about it: This is someone who isn't your client yet, and so is supposed to be on their best behavior to win you over. Both sides, the agent and the potential client, are on their best behavior. If one of them is already showing snark at this stage, I would RUN. Same with impatience. If they're impatient now, when they're not even your client, what about later, when they ARE your client and you have to attend to their needs?

Maze Runner
04-18-2015, 12:10 AM
Yeah, the only other one I know of is the music business. And I'm sure the film business is the same. It's supply and demand. Agents, producers, and publishers have no shortage of supply. Why? So many people would like to work in an industry that they love, where their passion lies, and there are just too few slots open. This is also why you hear these horror stories about stars, whether literary, music, or film, who turn into Mr. Hyde as soon as they're the ones with the clout. Also not cool, imo, but I can understand how it could happen after you couldn't get any of these people to say hello to you for years.

Maze Runner
04-18-2015, 12:17 AM
I don't think it's "childish" to form reject someone for being snarky though. Think about it: This is someone who isn't your client yet, and so is supposed to be on their best behavior to win you over. Both sides, the agent and the potential client, are on their best behavior. If one of them is already showing snark at this stage, I would RUN. Same with impatience. If they're impatient now, when they're not even your client, what about later, when they ARE your client and you have to attend to their needs?

Well, as I said, I'd have to see the email to know how I really felt. But it's supposed to be about the work, isn't it? Can you imagine the kind of primadonna attitude by some artists once they make it? You might say, Yeah, that's once they make it. But in the querying stage they're assessing talent, the same talent that could turn someone into a star, or at least selling well.

And by the way, impatience is something I was born with-it's a curse. I try my best to curb it, but it's who I am. It's really just an anxiousness to do well. I've never slept a night that I didn't toss and turn to the point that my bed looks like a warzone when I wake up. Can't help it. But, a lot of other things I've got covered that a lot of others don't.

Maze Runner
04-18-2015, 01:10 AM
Meanwhile, it all comes down to one thing--everybody needs to make a buck. If someone thinks you can help them with that, they'll treat you with a lot of respect. If not, who has time or inclination for etiquette? I mean that literally--who really does? Some do, some don't. I won't hold it against them, if they don't. It may be just who they are, and they can't help it any more than I can.

Roxxsmom
04-18-2015, 01:13 AM
During my researching agents, there have been a few who seemed promising based on stuff that turned out to be a couple years old. They were at prominent agencies, loved SFF, seemed to have a good response rate to queries, and had some great interviews on various blogs about agents and publishing.

But further research reveals they've left agenting.

Agenting is a lot of work, a lot of uncertainty, and it's a stressful way to make a living. Think about it. Agent sells first book to big 5 publisher for "nice," above-average advance of 25k (after months of work on it with client). How much money is that for them? at the standard 15% cut, just $3750. Is that even one month's rent for a closet in New York City (where many agents work)? I doubt it.

So it's possible that some of these people who just fall off the map after requesting fulls realized that they bit off than they could chew and decided to leave agenting. Would be nice if they could get back to the people who sent them fulls and explain, at least, though of course it's probably embarrassing.

Seems like there's a catch 22 with deciding who to query. The big, established agents at big agencies already have huge client lists, so they may not be actively seeking to grow their list, even if they're accepting queries just in case the next GRRM lands on their desk. And if they do take a new person on, he/she may be at the bottom of the priority list after the clients who are proven moneymakers for them.

But the advice to find a newer agent at an established agency, because they're seeking actively to grow their list and will likely take more risks and focus more on their new clients ? That has risks too.

I think the standard issue "nudge time" for no response after full requests is three months, however, unless one has an offer.

Samsonet
04-18-2015, 01:25 AM
Let me quote the letter:


I don't see why you're having so much trouble responding to me. It's been 3 months and no other agents had any trouble getting back to me within their allotted check-in times... What is your problem?


Moral of the story is, be patient.

And, I guess, don't make assumptions about an agent's motives.

Maze Runner
04-18-2015, 01:34 AM
Let me quote the letter:



Moral of the story is, be patient.

And, I guess, don't make assumptions about an agent's motives.

Well, myself, I'd never send an email like that. It's not only impatient, it's a bit on the accusatory side. When i nudged it was more like.."Just wondering if you've come to a decision..." kind of thing. But even that didn't get the consideration of a response. Maybe we can all see that people get it up to ^^here, and can't hold their tongues anymore. But it's self-defeating, that's for sure.

Maze Runner
04-18-2015, 01:39 AM
Hahaha, it's almost like an abused child who turns into an abuser. We can, I think, start to feel a little battered. But, your example, Samsonet, is of an agent who was totally in the right. He/she/they were considering this work for representation, and the author not only jumped the gun but did it in a almost abusive way. You gotta wonder, I do anyway, what would have happened had that author sent a nice, respectful email just inquiring as to the status of the submission.

Samsonet
04-18-2015, 01:49 AM
Yeah! I felt kinda bad for him, honestly, but here's hoping he got better and managed to get an agent.

A writer's relationship with agents/editors is like their relationship to critiquers and eventually reviewers, I think: some of 'em can be pretty mean to the writer, but not all of them will be, and one bad apple don't spoil the whole bunch.

I'd also say that a writer should avoid badmouthing them on the Internet, but then there are cases where the Internet needs to know about bad behavior, so. Use your best judgment and get advice, I guess.

Maze Runner
04-18-2015, 02:02 AM
Yeah, I wouldn't call an agent out on the internet. Really just because it's not in me to do so. Rings of a rat, in my screwed up perception, and I just couldn't do it. I do realize this is not the optimal stance, because as you say, doing so could help other writers in the future. But it's just the way I was raised. Now, if someone did something horrible like stole my work or something I'd make an exception.

The writer in question must have been pretty good already to get to the point where such a reputable agent was seriously considering his work for representation. Tough break, and I won't say I haven't been tempted to jump the gun myself, but I'm respectful and try to look at others' pov. A saving grace maybe.

Just as writers, who may have a good story told well, get thrown into the slush pile where they may not belong, just due to the sheer number of subs and the conditioning of agents to almost expect a bad sub when they have to look through quite a haystack to find a needle, I think writers can be guilty of expecting every agent to be as dismissive as others they've subbed to--I mean, I know for myself, when i get a rejection that is personal, addresses me by name, and talks about the work with some depth, it feels like a win even tho it's a rejection. It's tough. Tough to always act appropriately, on both sides, when the odds are so long against either of us finding what we're looking for.

Undercover
04-18-2015, 02:46 AM
I've run across this problem too. It's so disheartening to not get a response. Especially when the agent first showed an interest. It stings a lot. But for me, not for long. It's not worth it. I just try to fire off some new subs and move on. And when I do, I feel better in having increased my odds a little more.

Putputt
04-18-2015, 03:18 AM
Well, as I said, I'd have to see the email to know how I really felt. But it's supposed to be about the work, isn't it?

It's not just about the work though. If an agent thinks she can't get along with a potential client, why sign them on and suffer their snarky attitude? I think it's perfectly within the agent's rights to reject someone based on whether she thinks they'd get along or not.



And by the way, impatience is something I was born with-it's a curse. I try my best to curb it, but it's who I am. It's really just an anxiousness to do well. I've never slept a night that I didn't toss and turn to the point that my bed looks like a warzone when I wake up. Can't help it. But, a lot of other things I've got covered that a lot of others don't.

I think this is something more subjective. Some agents might be okay with impatient clients, some might not be, and again, it's well within their rights to decide who they want to work with. I don't think it makes them childish in any way.

The bottomline for me is: As a writer, I approach agents as potential business partners, with respect and understanding. I understand that things will often get in the way and so e-mails might go unanswered for some time and deadlines may get knocked askew by unexpected events. I don't send them snarky messages and I wait a reasonable amount of time before nudging on anything, even with agents I'm signed with. I don't bug my agents every other week with a "Hellooooo, sooo are you done with my project yet? What's going on with that?"

However, I expect the same courtesy and understanding in return. Requested a full from a writer? The least they can do is send out a form reject if they're not interested. Not going to make your deadline? Send your client a heads-up. And if a writer nudges politely with an offer in hand, well, silence is just utterly rude.

A.P.M.
04-18-2015, 03:37 AM
I've had plenty of fulls that ultimately went silent, even after nudges. I think its a disrespectful practice. I don't take it personally--clearly the manuscript didn't appeal to them--but that agent does end up getting moved to the bottom of my list for the next work I query, if I query them at all.

I know agents are busy, but I've talked to enough agents who DO make a point to respond to every full/every polite nudge (and even every query--I love this post by Janet Reid: http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2011/09/no-youre-wrong-and-heres-why.html ) and don't make a big deal out of it that I'm not sure I completely buy busyness as an excuse anymore.

Windcutter
04-18-2015, 04:14 AM
Are you sure they're not trying to figure out who they'd sell it to, or stuff like that, and it's taking this long because they're about to accept it?

That didn't occur to me yesterday, but today a comment on Janet Reid's blog mentioned an agent who was taking a while because she was loved the manuscript, was showing it to her boss, etc.

Then the author sent a snarky checkup email asking why they were taking so darn long when all the other agents got back to him in their stated time period.

The agent promptly emailed him a form rejection.
I find it interesting from another angle: the agent who loved the manuscript was seemingly unbothered by the prospect of other agents liking it faster.

Samsonet
04-18-2015, 05:04 AM
I think the agent figured that all the other agents had already rejected it. Or that if another agent wanted a client who'd talk like that after a two month wait, they could have him.

Maze Runner
04-18-2015, 05:08 AM
It's not just about the work though. If an agent thinks she can't get along with a potential client, why sign them on and suffer their snarky attitude? I think it's perfectly within the agent's rights to reject someone based on whether she thinks they'd get along or not.



I think this is something more subjective. Some agents might be okay with impatient clients, some might not be, and again, it's well within their rights to decide who they want to work with. I don't think it makes them childish in any way.

The bottomline for me is: As a writer, I approach agents as potential business partners, with respect and understanding. I understand that things will often get in the way and so e-mails might go unanswered for some time and deadlines may get knocked askew by unexpected events. I don't send them snarky messages and I wait a reasonable amount of time before nudging on anything, even with agents I'm signed with. I don't bug my agents every other week with a "Hellooooo, sooo are you done with my project yet? What's going on with that?"

However, I expect the same courtesy and understanding in return. Requested a full from a writer? The least they can do is send out a form reject if they're not interested. Not going to make your deadline? Send your client a heads-up. And if a writer nudges politely with an offer in hand, well, silence is just utterly rude.

Of course it's within their rights. My "childish" characterization was made before I'd seen the actual email. To me, that email went beyond snark. It was offensive, rude, and accusatory. That said, if I really loved someone's work and I'd gotten that email, I might give them a call and see if they were someone I could work with after all--we've all said the wrong things sometimes, we're all capable of allowing the pressure to get to us. Maybe this guy was having a bad day. Maybe his dog died. They didn't owe him another chance of course. But it could have been in everybody's best interest to take another look.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not impatient to the point that it's been a problem. Most often, if anything, it's worked for me. I just use that energy. I work hard and I work fast, no matter what I'm doing.

I think what a lot of people are saying on this thread is that too often that same consideration and respect isn't returned. To say that it's an entirely equitable relationship when a new writer is querying agents, the ones that can do you good, I don't think that's true. And some, only some, at least that's been my experience, take unfair advantage of that inequity. But this is true in every business I've ever seen to one extent or another. Those who have power tend to use it, and sometimes mindlessly.

I'm actually the nicest, most respectful, easiest to get along with kind of guy you'll ever meet in business--not because I'm a saint, but because it's easier--and any agent/editor would find it a pleasure to work with me as long as they even come close to treating me the same way.



I find it interesting from another angle: the agent who loved the manuscript was seemingly unbothered by the prospect of other agents liking it faster.

A glut in the market?

Putputt
04-18-2015, 05:25 AM
Of course it's within their rights. My "childish" characterization was made before I'd seen the actual email.

See, to me it doesn't matter whether you or I think the e-mail was rude. What matters is that the agent thinks it's rude, and rude enough to the point where she didn't want to work with him. That's not childish at all. It's a personal opinion and you go with what you're comfortable with. What's childish about that?



To me, that email went beyond snark. It was offensive, rude, and accusatory. That said, if I really loved someone's work and I'd gotten that email, I might give them a call and see if they were someone I could work with after all--we've all said the wrong things sometimes, we're all capable of allowing the pressure to get to us. Maybe this guy was having a bad day. Maybe his dog died. They didn't owe him another chance of course. But it could have been in everybody's best interest to take another look.

I think that's a subjective decision to make. You can't really tell what would be in everybody's interest, just what would be in your best interests based on your situation. I asked Mr. Putt what he would've done if he were that agent, and he said he would've still tried to get the author if he really liked the book, because he's better at ignoring rudeness. But a friend of ours said she would've rejected the writer too, because she doesn't have the patience to deal with the rudeness. They're making a judgment call based on what would be in their respective best interests. I don't think we get to judge the decision.



I think what a lot of people are saying on this thread is that too often that same consideration and respect isn't returned. To say that it's an entirely equitable relationship when a new writer is querying agents, the ones that can do you good, I don't think that's true. And some, only some, at least that's been my experience, take unfair advantage of that inequity. But this is true in every business I've ever seen to one extent or another. Those who have power tend to use it, and sometimes mindlessly.


I would agree with that, especially with the bolded.

Maze Runner
04-18-2015, 05:30 AM
See, to me it doesn't matter whether you or I think the e-mail was rude. What matters is that the agent thinks it's rude, and rude enough to the point where she didn't want to work with him. That's not childish at all. It's a personal opinion and you go with what you're comfortable with. What's childish about that?



I think that's a subjective decision to make. You can't really tell what would be in everybody's interest, just what would be in your best interests based on your situation. I asked Mr. Putt what he would've done if he were that agent, and he said he would've still tried to get the author if he really liked the book, because he's better at ignoring rudeness. But a friend of ours said she would've rejected the writer too, because she doesn't have the patience to deal with the rudeness. They're making a judgment call based on what would be in their respective best interests. I don't think we get to judge the decision.



I would agree with that, especially with the bolded.

Again. I only said it was childish before I'd seen the email.

(Sorry, I don't know how to split quotes)

I'm not judging her decision. I'm saying what Mr. Putt said. For me, it would have been worth further investigation.

Maze Runner
04-18-2015, 05:42 AM
See, to me it doesn't matter whether you or I think the e-mail was rude. What matters is that the agent thinks it's rude, and rude enough to the point where she didn't want to work with him. That's not childish at all. It's a personal opinion and you go with what you're comfortable with. What's childish about that?


Wait, just noticed this part. So you're saying that no matter how benign of an inquiry it would have been, you would under no circumstances have any opinion on how justified it was for an agent reject that submission?

Samsonet
04-18-2015, 05:42 AM
Probably should've quoted the letter the first time, huh. Sorry about that.

Just in case any newer writer sees this and thinks "shoot, you can be blacklisted that easily?": you can't. As far as I can tell, nobody's actually named the guy and for all we know he might have an agent by now. Which doesn't mean to feel free to write all the abusive emails you want -- just that having a bad day might cause one agent to reject you, but the entire industry isn't going to blacklist you for it.

Maze Runner
04-18-2015, 05:45 AM
Probably should've quoted the letter the first time, huh. Sorry about that.

Just in case any newer writer sees this and thinks "shoot, you can be blacklisted that easily?": you can't. As far as I can tell, nobody's actually named the guy and for all we know he might have an agent by now. Which doesn't mean to feel free to write all the abusive emails you want -- just that having a bad day might cause one agent to reject you, but the entire industry isn't going to blacklist you for it.

No, that's okay. But it was a lot worse than I imagined.

Especially the part: What is going on with you people? Or was it waht is wrong with you people? Hahahaha I'm laughing cause it reminds me of that guy in Office Space.

Putputt
04-18-2015, 06:18 AM
Wait, just noticed this part. So you're saying that no matter how benign of an inquiry it would have been, you would under no circumstances have any opinion on how justified it was for an agent reject that submission?

I think it's up to the individual whether or not they want to work with someone. Agents have the right to reject based on preference or level of comfort or whatever, just as writers have the right to reject or go with a different agent based on whatever.

So if an agent were to say, "I found the e-mail snarky", I don't think it matters what the e-mail said, just that the agent in question found it snarky. The agent's the one who'd have to work with the client, so her level of comfort with the e-mail is the only one that matters.

Maze Runner
04-18-2015, 06:31 AM
Really? So if the email read: "Excuse me, Mr. Jones, I'm sorry to bother you, but I was just wondering if you've made a decision on my submission yet. Thank you."

And Big Bad Agent shot back: "Why, what rudeness! What gall!"

You wouldn't have an opinion on whether that was an overreaction or not?

Roxxsmom
04-18-2015, 08:02 AM
I don't see why you're having so much trouble responding to me. It's been 3 months and no other agents had any trouble getting back to me within their allotted check-in times... What is your problem?I wouldn't take that tone in a nudge letter, even if I really am miffed. You get more flies with honey, as they say. And in fact, we really can't know what's going on in that person's life or why they prioritize their work the way they do. As a college instructor, I know that I will immediately be in the defensive if a student contacts me and says, "I don't see why you can't [class policy x] because all my other teachers do this! What is your problem?"

Even if the student is 100% right, and I'm doing a horrible job because I'm actually having problems in my life at that time that are interfering with my teaching, I might break down in helpless sobbing over my keyboard. This has happened to a colleague or two of mine, actually.

The chances of any one agent taking on your MS is small, even if they've requested a partial or full. The chances that a mini lecture, no matter how justified it may or may not be, will make them want to take you on as a client or to reconsider their business practices re response times is even smaller. Seriously, when was the last time any of us took someone to task for something (no matter how justified it might be), and they blinked and said, "Oh, you're right. Thank you for changing me into a better person."

And agents have a very unique situation--they choose their clients. They don't have to rep anyone they don't want to rep, and they don't have to have a reason at all. And of course, we can decide who we want to query with future projects too.

Putputt
04-18-2015, 09:26 AM
Really? So if the email read: "Excuse me, Mr. Jones, I'm sorry to bother you, but I was just wondering if you've made a decision on my submission yet. Thank you."

And Big Bad Agent shot back: "Why, what rudeness! What gall!"

You wouldn't have an opinion on whether that was an overreaction or not?

I wouldn't have an opinion on the fact that the agent decided to reject. I would have an opinion if the agent responded rudely to the writer. But if all she does is send a polite form reject, then as far as I'm concerned, the agent is perfectly within her rights to decide who she's comfortable working with. Not entirely sure why that's up for debate, tbh. The agent is the one who will have to interact with the client long-term, so surely SHE gets to decide for herself what HER boundaries are?

jjdebenedictis
04-18-2015, 12:02 PM
Really? So if the email read: "Excuse me, Mr. Jones, I'm sorry to bother you, but I was just wondering if you've made a decision on my submission yet. Thank you."

And Big Bad Agent shot back: "Why, what rudeness! What gall!"

You wouldn't have an opinion on whether that was an overreaction or not?What does it matter? When you get right down to it, queries are unsolicited advertisements. Some people politely say no to telemarketers, and some people just hang up, right? There's no contract between an agent and a writer until they sign a contract. You might argue it's professional for agents to respond to business correspondence, but you can't argue that it is owed.

As for whether an agent's reasons are "justified", if someone flirts with you, and you reject their advances, it really doesn't matter whether they're of the opinion that you rejected them for inadequate reasons -- it's your opinion that counts. A relationship has to be something both parties want to be in.

Same thing with agents; they can say no to working with you (and you to working with them) for any reason at all, and that most definitely is "justified".

Roxxsmom
04-19-2015, 04:35 AM
What does it matter? When you get right down to it, queries are unsolicited advertisements. Some people politely say no to telemarketers, and some people just hang up, right?

There's a difference, though. Agents who indicate that they're open to queries can expect to receive them. I don't know anyone who has stated on their personal website (or next to their listing in the phone directory) that they're open to telemarketing calls.

So an agent who has stated that they are open to queries "just hanging up" on, or even "never answering the phone" on an politely worded and appropriate query (or on a full request) seems a bit more rude than hanging up on a telemarketer (especially when one is on the do not call list). Now if someone is querying an agent who has indicated that they're closed to queries, or if someone is bugging an agent who has already given a polite no, being a bit curt seems warranted.

But as others have said, if one feels that an agent's way of dealing with gentle nudges is inappropriate, one probably wouldn't have wanted to work with them anyway.

Mr Flibble
04-19-2015, 04:45 AM
Really? So if the email read: "Excuse me, Mr. Jones, I'm sorry to bother you, but I was just wondering if you've made a decision on my submission yet. Thank you."

And Big Bad Agent shot back: "Why, what rudeness! What gall!"

You wouldn't have an opinion on whether that was an overreaction or not?


I would cross them off my list of people to work with. I want a professional to work with, not a prima donna. IF that is what the writer's email said.


As for the OP .. I once got a form reject on a full...18 months after the book came out

Some agents respond, some do not. Some are tardy because they are looking after clients they already have (what I would like my agent to do) If you have gone past their stated response time, and you have nudged, consider it a no until it is a yes (it likely won't be)

jjdebenedictis
04-19-2015, 06:01 AM
As for the OP .. I once got a form reject on a full...18 months after the book came out:roll: That's a rejection that would not sting quite so much, I think.

blacbird
04-19-2015, 09:36 AM
:roll: That's a rejection that would not sting quite so much, I think.

Sort of like the often-cited famous story about Pearl Buck, who allegedly received a rejection for something on the same day she was notified of winning the Nobel Prize for Literature.

caw

Mr Flibble
04-19-2015, 02:41 PM
:roll: That's a rejection that would not sting quite so much, I think.

One of the very few that made me smile

Two others were ones I received on the same day, for the same three chapter submission (the same book as it happens as the previously mentioned full reject)

Sorry, I don't do romance

and

Sorry, I don't do torture


Which just shows you how subjective it is.

(ETA this was for a dark fantasy that happened to have a couple in it)

WriteMinded
04-20-2015, 07:06 PM
Y'all make the publishing world sound like Hell.

jjdebenedictis
04-20-2015, 11:08 PM
Y'all make the publishing world sound like Hell.*shrug* A first-world-problems sort of hell, maybe. None of us have to do this.

WriteMinded
04-21-2015, 05:08 PM
*shrug* A first-world-problems sort of hell, maybe. None of us have to do this.
Write. Right!

blacbird
04-22-2015, 06:47 AM
Y'all make the publishing world sound like Hell.

It's actually worse than that, but we were trying to be kind.

caw

Phaeal
04-22-2015, 08:58 PM
It's actually more like Purgatory. You know, float around and around and wait. And wait. Then wait some more. Then nudge the attendant archangels about how much longer it will be. Then, for a change of pace, wait.

Hell, on the other hand, has cookies. So what if they have habanero-sriracha chips instead of chocolate? You get used to it.

Maze Runner
04-22-2015, 09:17 PM
And maybe it's the promise of a Heaven that keeps us going?

For me, it's more like a rumor, but I am a stupid optimist.

The_Ink_Goddess
04-23-2015, 01:18 AM
And maybe it's the promise of a Heaven that keeps us going?

For me, it's more like a rumor, but I am a stupid optimist.

But, when you're subbing, literally every single sub story seems to be, 'I wrote my book and, then, in 24 hours, I had 6 agents begging to represent me in my inbox. 2 weeks later, I had a two-book deal from one of the Big Five!'

It doesn't even seem like an exaggeration, either.

(Getting no response on fulls is so upsetting. I've never had a form on a full yet - though I have had the generic 'couldn't connect with the characters', which could just as easily be a form. Such is life, but I think it's incredibly rude to never respond. So much worse than just sending the boilerplate. You got too busy and couldn't be bothered to read it? Fine. You really hated it? No problem. Buuuuut I think to not even send a form is really bad practice. I also hate no-response-means-no, because I'm an eternal spam-filter optimist, but that's different because I understand that they have thousands of queries every week, on top of clients and requested MSs. It's not practical for many of them to respond.

Like, my two top choice agents had fulls from me in January and March of last year and, though both responded to nudges in autumn, I've still not heard back from my other tentative ones. I probably won't. I'm also considering whether I'd even query them for my next project. I mean, obviously I WILL, because they have amazing sale records and I'm weak and hopeful as all hell, but I did lose respect for them. Boilerplate/very short rejections on fulls sting, but to drop off the map and not respond entirely is where it moves, to me, from being hurtful but 'oh well' to professional courtesy.

Now I think perhaps I sound psycho. So let's move onto the subject on which I can be a little more rational, and this thread has somewhat moved into.

I am always super-careful with nudging, and I always would be. I was about to write that it's somewhat unfair that there's such a power imbalance in publishing, when, really, the agent/author relationship is entirely two-way and symbiotic. I have friends who have been really mistreated even by star agents who rep their work. So sometimes I feel sad for them that there's no acceptable channel for them to say, 'this person shit on me,' and that the author's endless quote for their previous agent(s) always has to be, 'We have endless respect for each other and I love them and you should query them!'

But, at the same time, there have to be professional boundaries. It sounds like the simplest advice in the world but it has really shocked me, since I got into trying to break into publishing, how many authors were just...crazies who couldn't respect the basic principle of, 'would you talk to people you actually knew like this? Would you talk to potential employers/employees/however you want to see your agent?' Many agents have tweeted regularly and recently about being sent the same query three times in one day, being subjected to horrible abusive rants, being belittled and threatened. I think because, so much of writing is about you alone, there are just too many authors who believe that they are 'entitled' to be published because 'it's their dream.' And that gives them, in their minds, carte blanche to spew vitriol at anyone who says no. If that's just what gets tweeted/spoken about, can you believe how frequent that is? You hopefully wouldn't treat an office job like that, in the same way that you wouldn't get on the phone and start yelling at your business partner if they didn't reply - people, please! So, agents, to me, have the right to behave as they wish because, just like I wouldn't want my agent to be constantly haranguing me about my new book and threatening to withdraw rep, it's a decision that they need to make. If they were actually abusive to the author, that'd be a whole other matter.

Maze Runner
04-23-2015, 04:28 AM
Yeah, I'm just respectful to people in general, whether they can do me some good or not--it's a way of behavior that I can live with from myself. It does get difficult to maintain, in any context, when you feel that the same consideration isn't reciprocated. No word at all on a full, I don't think that's respectful, but what can you do about it? I'm certainly not going to email a nasty nudge or what have you. Again, more because it doesn't feel good to me. I have no basis for this belief, but sometimes I have a hunch that some of these agents are playing the numbers game on wholes. Meaning, maybe requesting more than they could possibly handle if all the novels turned out to be worthy. Just a feeling I have, but I'm probably wrong.

You don't sound psycho at all--and even if you did, what better place to vent than a writing board. We're all in this together.

There is a power imbalance. When you're starting out--I've only written two novels to date--you obviously need a "good" agent more than at first blush anyway, they need you. I guess we all hope to get to where we are selling a lot of books and everyone who gets a taste of that will love us and the relationship gets to be more equitable. Hope it happens for you.

ETA: I should qualify anything I say on this is more due to what I've seen in business in general. My experience is very limited in the publishing world.

blacbird
04-23-2015, 06:44 AM
And maybe it's the promise of a Heaven that keeps us going?

Worked really well for Jim Jones and David Koresh.

caw

Maze Runner
04-23-2015, 07:36 AM
Worked really well for Jim Jones and David Koresh.

caw

Ha, yeah, and at least they were promised the Heaven.

Oldborne
05-05-2015, 03:56 PM
This entire thread is thoroughly discouraging. Spent ages waiting for an agent to respond - they respond, requesting a full manuscript, and then it's possible to never heard from them again? I'd think at that point you're guaranteed at least a rejection email.

lizo27
05-05-2015, 04:15 PM
Eh. It's discouraging, to be sure, but not that different from other arm's-length business relations. Until you sign with them, you're not a client, and you're not entitled to the same courtesy as a client. Example: The year after I graduated from law school, the bottom dropped out of the legal market. I sent out hundreds of applications all over the country. I got three interviews, and one offer. The other two places didn't contact me with a rejection. I just learned that they'd hired someone else. And I was lucky. I knew plenty of people with just as good grades, if not better, who couldn't get jobs at all. The way publishing works, and given how busy agents are, I'd expect much the same, if not worse, responses from querying. A query is like a job application, and a request is like an interview, in my mind. I wouldn't really expect to hear back unless they're interested. You just need one to say yes. Why obsess over the nos?

Filigree
05-06-2015, 06:57 AM
What Lizo said. +10

Windcutter
05-14-2015, 03:31 AM
A glut in the market?

I think the agent figured that all the other agents had already rejected it. Or that if another agent wanted a client who'd talk like that after a two month wait, they could have him.
Probably, but it seems hot property often entices several agents at once. There are so many stories that go like, hey I sent out this ms and no one really wanted it, then I sent out that ms and maybe one agent sorta read the full... and then I sent out the winner and suddenly I was ears deep in agents wanting it. So if I were an agent who fell in love with a ms I would have assumed it was in demand... unless it was a case of a hard-to-market novel which is also too awesome to miss.

I agree with Mr Flibble (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/member.php?19462-Mr-Flibble) though--it's a little like romance. Sure you can demand attention but doing so will not make the other person fall in love with you. The only thing it can do is drive them away because they find you tiresome/boring/uncomfortable to deal with. On the other hand, if such a small thing can make them give up on you that fast, you two were obviously never destined for an epic union anyway. So that's also telling.http://absolutewrite.com/forums/images/statusicon/user-offline.png



Two others were ones I received on the same day, for the same three chapter submission (the same book as it happens as the previously mentioned full reject)

Sorry, I don't do romance

and

Sorry, I don't do torture


Which just shows you how subjective it is.
This is a bit off topic but I also have a little story about rejections.
1. query + 5 pages
"Please send me the first 3 chapters ASAP, I loved your 5 pages, they were so fast-paced and exciting."
2. a few days later
"You know I liked your chapters but they were kind of too fast-paced and exciting."

That was a pretty well-known agent, by the way. I wish I could read some of her other rejection letters because yeah.

Jamesaritchie
05-14-2015, 07:59 PM
It should never happen. When an agent requests a full, that agent is duty bound to give you a response, one way or the other, and good agents do. It may take more time than planned, but if the agent actually says two or three weeks, and it's been two months, it's time to put some pressure on.

I let submissions sit as long as an editor needs, even if it's two years. Agents are a different story. Agents are busy people, but when an actually tells you something, that agent should stick to it. Good agents, good people, don't say things that aren't going to happen.

If pressure doesn't work, then e-mail the agent and withdraw the manuscript. Doing this often gets an answer immediately.

kwanzaabot
05-16-2015, 07:37 AM
I'm not at the point where I'm ready to start querying agents yet, but I have been out of work for a little while, and it's taught me a thing or two about job applications which I think also applies here.

NEVER assume they're going to get back to you. Because 9 times out of 10? They won't. Apply and move on to the next application.

http://i2.wp.com/thefwoosh.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Tailgate_Cyclonus_Hope_Is_A_Lie.jpg

LJackson
05-20-2015, 04:10 AM
I read so many talking about how busy agents are. Are there so many submissions and so few agents?

As far as rejections go, I have learnt that "no" does not necessarily mean a bad thing. It just means a perfect match has not yet met. After I was laid off from my last job, I couldn't count how many applications I sent out. Finally, one showed interest and eventually offered me the job. On the day when I received the offer, I got a call from a head hunter - for a company I did not apply for. I had a series of grueling interviews with them on that day (four hours), got the offer immediately afterward, for far better salary and more interesting responsibilities than any others. It turned out to be a good thing that others said no to me. Seriously.

blacbird
05-20-2015, 06:02 AM
It's like letting your mood be dictated by the weather.

Effing sunshine and dry weather. I'm trying to start a garden, and we need clouds and rain, which we normally get. But this year? Noooooooooooooooooooo. It's like living in the Atacama.

Which is a lot like my writing experience.

caw

Silenia
05-20-2015, 06:22 AM
I read so many talking about how busy agents are. Are there so many submissions and so few agents?


That's almost certainly part of it...but it's probably even more that the main job of an agent isn't the slush pile, submissions, etc. It's the clients they already have.

Plus, it's hardly "one manuscript, one query, one submitted full, one agent" in like, 99.99% of the cases. First hit homeruns are pretty rare, as to say. One manuscript can easily put queries in a few dozen agents' inboxes, partials in a dozen, fulls in half a dozen...

Windcutter
05-25-2015, 07:34 AM
I'm not at the point where I'm ready to start querying agents yet, but I have been out of work for a little while, and it's taught me a thing or two about job applications which I think also applies here.

NEVER assume they're going to get back to you. Because 9 times out of 10? They won't. Apply and move on to the next application.
I'd say it fits the query situation better. When there is a full being requested, there is a certain level of communication already, a certain display of interest.

HoldinHolden
05-25-2015, 07:52 AM
I still have proposals (I'm non-fic, so a proposal to me is what a full is for you) out, and I stopped querying nearly a year ago now (I am agented and recently signed a publishing contract). Even after nudges, I didn't get responses. Seems to be occurring more frequently as time passes.

Old Hack
05-25-2015, 01:01 PM
I read so many talking about how busy agents are. Are there so many submissions and so few agents?

Agents are hugely busy representing the clients they already have. Reading submissions is something that gets done in the few spaces between. It is very low-priority compared to selling rights and negotiating contracts for their exisiting clients because those exisiting clients earn the agent her income.


...it has really shocked me, since I got into trying to break into publishing, how many authors were just...crazies who couldn't respect the basic principle of, 'would you talk to people you actually knew like this? Would you talk to potential employers/employees/however you want to see your agent?' Many agents have tweeted regularly and recently about being sent the same query three times in one day, being subjected to horrible abusive rants, being belittled and threatened. I think because, so much of writing is about you alone, there are just too many authors who believe that they are 'entitled' to be published because 'it's their dream.' And that gives them, in their minds, carte blanche to spew vitriol at anyone who says no. If that's just what gets tweeted/spoken about, can you believe how frequent that is? You hopefully wouldn't treat an office job like that, in the same way that you wouldn't get on the phone and start yelling at your business partner if they didn't reply - people, please!

When submissions were made by post, the ranting and abuse was generally made by post too, so it was a relatively indirect thing, and it took time, and because one has to make quite a big effort to write a rude letter, stick it in an envelope, get a stamp, and put it in the post box. It was never nice receiving those abusive letters; and twenty years ago, I ended up with a stalker who objected to my rejecting his entirely awful and inappropriate submission. It was not nice.

Since the internet came along, the number of submissions has increased; and sadly, the number and proportion of nasty communications has also increased. Most agents I know now have extensive lists of aspiring authors who have berated and threatened them. A couple of agencies I know regularly have to forward communications to the police, because they know the writers concerned represent a real threat to them. It's often because of the increased volume of submissions, and the increased number of threats they receive, that editors and agents have moved from giving feedback where they could, and writing encouraging rejections, to sending out only form rejections or even not responding at all to submissions they are not taking any further. We have learned that for a minority of writers, any communication which isn't "this is the best book ever and of course I'm going to represent you!" will lead to abuse and threats, and it's just too dangerous to invite that any more.

It means that the good writers, the nice ones, have to put up with "no response means no thanks", which is not good. No one likes it, not writers, not agents, not editors. But until someone comes up with a better way to avoid those threats, it's the best solution we've got.

Filigree
05-25-2015, 04:36 PM
It may not seem fair to the second category of authors, who follow rules and behave themselves. But the 'no response' situation has evolved for a reason.

I look at it as a litmus test for agent professionalism. When I was still querying agents, I sent out 77 queries for one book, got requests for two or three partials, and no fulls (a flawed book, to begin with).

Two of the partial requesters didn't respond within six months. I nudged. One agent fired back with 'Sorry I lost track of you!' and initiated a round of incredibly useful second reads. She ended up not wanting the book for good reasons, but her feedback was great.

The second agent never responded. I took them off my query list, and moved on.

Jamesaritchie
05-25-2015, 07:47 PM
Agents are hugely busy representing the clients they already have. Reading submissions is something that gets done in the few spaces between. It is very low-priority compared to selling rights and negotiating contracts for their exisiting clients because those exisiting clients earn the agent her income.



.

Completely true, but this is no reason for any agent or editor to say they'll do something, and then not follow through. If you're too busy to get back to me quickly, then say so. Do this, and we're fine. I'll wait as long as it takes. But if yo say you'll get back to me within two weeks, then you eight get back to me within two weeks, or you aren't someone I want to work with.


I keep my word. Period. I expect anyone else I'm dealing with to do the same. Ninety percent do. Those who don't are people I won't work with. If they'll break their word in one area, they'll do the same in others.

Jamesaritchie
05-25-2015, 08:01 PM
Publishing isn't hell, it's just a plain old business. As a business, it's all about quality of product, and ability to keep delivering that product. "Quality" is nothing more than giving agents something that makes them see dollar signs. Dollars signs mean you have a product the agent believes millions of readers will part with beer money to buy.

But to be effective, this quality much show through in every aspect of writing, including the query letter. If it doesn't show through, complaining about agents and editors is pointless. They aren't the problem. The quality you're delivering is the problem.

The simple fact is that writing is a business, and if you can deliver the quality, you're in charge. Agents, editors, and the marketing department, will bend to your will like grass before the wind because you're how they make a good living. If you can't deliver the quality, or not quite enough of it, writing is just like any other business. It seems cold, harsh, and even hellish. But it usually isn't. It is, in fact, completely impersonal. They just don't want your product, and they tell you so. If you keep coming back with product after product that they never want, it does seem hellish, but they aren't asking you to keep coming back. This is your choice.

It's very much like the TV series Shark Tank. Very much like it. Writers should watch this show. The only thing different is all the people who never even made it to this stage. http://abc.go.com/shows/shark-tank/

Windcutter
05-27-2015, 08:46 AM
Well, you know, it might not seem very nice of me but every time an agent starts speaking about how dreadfully busy they are (and how this is an excuse for basically everything), I kind of want to tell them, at least you don't have a second day job.
At least as far as I know, most agents don't. Most editors don't. Most people working for the publishers don't have to have any other job. That's their job.
Whereas writers--most of them--receive so little money from this, they have to hold an additional job in order to survive. Even though without writers not a single one of those people would have had any sort of job to begin with.

mccardey
05-27-2015, 09:08 AM
Well, you know, it might not seem very nice of me but every time an agent starts speaking about how dreadfully busy they are (and how this is an excuse for basically everything), I kind of want to tell them, at least you don't have a second day job.
At least as far as I know, most agents don't. Most editors don't. Most people working for the publishers don't have to have any other job. That's their job.
Whereas writers--most of them--receive so little money from this, they have to hold an additional job in order to survive. Even though without writers not a single one of those people would have had any sort of job to begin with.Yes, but most writers - at the beginning, at least - don't expect novelling to make them a living wage. At least - they shouldn't. And editors do and agents do and should. So your analogy doesn't hold up.

I get the frustration, but the fact is that in the real world, as opposed to the Ideal World, - and can I just say Bring On The Ideal World! - novel-writing is not the sort of thing that the Corporation depends upon. Which kind of sucks. And which means that agents and publishers and editors are all in the sameish boat as writers. And it behoves us all to get on as best we can.

ETA: And I'm pretty sure that without writers "those people" would have jobs. Just - different jobs. ;)

jjdebenedictis
05-27-2015, 09:33 AM
[E]very time an agent starts speaking about how dreadfully busy they are (and how this is an excuse for basically everything), I kind of want to tell them, at least you don't have a second day job.
Given they seem to spend all their free time -- evenings and weekends -- reading for work, it kind of is a second job, except with no extra pay.

That's not unusual for a lot of careers, unfortunately. In academia, people always seem to be sorting out their teaching plans outside of work hours.

Old Hack
05-27-2015, 10:56 AM
When agents start agenting full-time, it's not uncommon for them to fail to earn a living wage for the first three to five years of work. If they want to do the job well they can't take a second job to help them through as evenings and weekends are for reading clients' manuscripts, and going through the slush pile.

Most publishing professionals are paid very low wages. One of the reasons I moved from being a full-time editor to ghost-writing and freelancing was that the wages were so low for my full-time, highly-skilled job, even though I had a lot of experience and was in demand. I knew an editor who worked in a bar a few evenings a week, to supplement her income; I know a few booksellers who have second jobs. It is not uncommon.

Yes, writers struggle. But so do many publishing professionals. This isn't a competition: it's a reality, and at its centre is the issue that books are expensive to make well, and many people object to paying a reasonable price for them.

object of my charm
05-27-2015, 12:03 PM
I have five fulls out right now - and one agent has had it for, like, a year almost. One nudge, no reply. It seems to me if they're into the manuscript, they bump you up on their reading list. Don't you think most of the requests to rep happen within 3 months usually?