Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I'm sure I've addressed this topic before

I posted this on the blog, but thought I'd email you as well. I sent my query letter to an agent and she was very interested in my novel - she emailed me back immediately and was really responsive. She emailed me several times over the course of a few days about it.

She asked to see my website with chapters of the work. I sent it to her, and now I haven't heard a word back - it's been three weeks and I've sent an email to see if she's read it.

My neurotic little brain is going nuts. 'Why was she so responsive, then, nothing?', 'Did she hate what she read?' or 'Is she just out of town?' God only knows the answer to this. And I'm not God. I am however, clueless as to what this means. Now I'm starting to sound like a pathetic ex, aren't I?

Any advice? Do I assume that she just isn't interested? Would love your advice!

I'm fairly sure I've covered this before - in these posts - but what the heck ... Those manuscripts and contracts and proposals and bazillion emails can wait.

THREE WEEKS? You've only given her THREE WEEKS? And you've already sent an email? If an agent can get back to you in three weeks about a submission then they probably have too much time and not enough clients, and you should worry about that. I'm lucky if I get back to myself in three weeks.

All right, so that was a slightly histrionic paragraph but I'm still surprised by how quickly writers turn into Chicken Little. You'll all spend months - years - writing a novel but then three weeks of silence from an agent and suddenly cluck, cluck, cluck.

Here's what's probably happened: she asked for the extra material and, granted, her initial super-enthusiasm may have given you the impression that you were moving to second base in a hurry, but what probably happened is that she read your email on a day in the office when she just felt like doing a bit of reading and was able to respond quickly. Those days are rare. So she requested your website link with the intention of reading further but then stuff intervened - she had to do some contracts or go to meetings or be interstate or take the dog to the vet. Three weeks is not a long time in publishing.

But you've already emailed her so now she's possibly thinking, 'Uh-oh, one of those', because we're fickle creatures, us agent-y types, and as much as we're keen on someone's writing, if they exhibit overzealous behaviour it's hard for us to envisage ourselves taking them on as a client because, well, that could just be all too much attention. I have a casually dysfunctional relationship with all my authors - I love them, they know it, but I don't want to know if they love me and I certainly don't want them to tell me. They can thank me in their acknowledgements once I've got them published. So if they get - er - clingy then, like someone with boundary *issues* I'm likely to distance myself. Of course, there's a chance I'm making this last part up because it's late in the afternoon and I have a headache.

Anyway, back to you. My advice is to not email her again for quite a while. If she likes your writing, don't worry, you'll hear from her. If she doesn't, you'll also hear from her. But give her a bit more time - say, two months. That's a long time in your world but it's a short time in ours.

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