The Waiting Game

Publishing is slow, and that sucks. I have so much respect for writers. The commitment and diligence it takes to write and complete a manuscript. The courage it takes to query. The dedication it takes to revise and revise and revise. And above all the patience--the ceaseless patience--required to persevere. 

And as an agent, I'm the one keeping people waiting. Waiting for responses to queries. Waiting for responses to requested materials. Waiting for author agreements. Waiting for edits. Wait, waiting, and yet more waiting at every stage of the process.

I am myself an impatient person. The time between when I've extended an offer of representation to an author and when they get back to me with their decision? Agony. So please believe me when I say that I intimately understand what it's like to live your life clicking refresh refresh refresh. 

I wish I could promise you all that I'll never keep you waiting ever again, but I can't. As I settle in I'm trying to adjust my response times to be reasonably in line with my workload, but it's all very fluid. I do try to be open and honest about where I'm at with things, through posts about query stats and humble emails asking authors for a reading extension, but I know that's little consolation when your book hangs in the balance.

The truth of it is that the work takes the time it takes. And that length of time isn't a measure of the quality of your work, and it isn't a measure of my enthusiasm for it or lack thereof. It is only a reflection of where my workload is at the moment. There are periods where I'm on top of things and the emails come quickly, and other periods when I haven't had a chance to even glance at my inbox or my reading pile. Still, there is no sweet spot for rejections. Authors are always thrilled when I am interested, whether that email comes after 30 minutes or 30 days. But rejection stings whether it comes now or later. 

Patience is a heroic quality, and one that writers must have as they pursue publication. It's also something we expect of authors, but rarely acknowledge. Please know that, as someone who is probably going to keep you waiting (at least for a little while), I recognize how difficult and painful and nerve-wracking waiting can be. I appreciate your patience. I appreciate the opportunity to consider your work. I appreciate the determination it takes to do what you do. 

And when it's your turn to keep me on the line as you explore all your options?