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Queries and Agents => The Next Step => Topic started by: skribbler on July 14, 2017, 04:11:15 PM



Title: How long have folks waited for agent's notes?
Post by: skribbler on July 14, 2017, 04:11:15 PM
I think I know the answer to this. I finally got my agent in May after more than a year of looking for one. She was very excited about my quirky not-for-everyone literary fiction manuscript. She really wants me. But she said she wouldn't be able to turn to it to make notes and discuss what to do to get the book in shape for submission before the "both of June," a typo I spent weeks trying to guess at rather than just annoyingly ask her what she meant. I'd decided it would be best to assume 4th of July would be the soonest she'd be able to look at it. I got impatient, though, about 6/20 or so and did ask if it was possible we could discuss it by the 4th, since summer is my slow time at work and most ideal time to work on re-write. Ever since, we've been making appointments week by week to discuss, which every time she's had to break because she isn't ready.

Please tell me she isn't a flake, she just has a lot on her plate (she's the name agent at her firm), and I need to simply work on my second book while I'm waiting on her notes/edits. Would love, though, to hear from others who've lived through slow starts with their agents. Especially if the story ended happily.


Title: Re: How long have folks waited for agent's notes?
Post by: Rachael846 on July 14, 2017, 04:20:43 PM
Well, it took a little over two months to get my edit letter, but...that's exactly how long she told me it would take even before I officially signed with her. So...


Title: Re: How long have folks waited for agent's notes?
Post by: skribbler on July 14, 2017, 05:07:26 PM
Exactly what I needed to hear, Rachael. Thanks.


Title: Re: How long have folks waited for agent's notes?
Post by: Sarah Ahiers (Falen) on July 17, 2017, 08:23:01 AM
I mean, for me it's like a week or two.

But those aren't, like, edit notes but instead "I've read it, let's talk strategy" sort of thing and then we proceed from there.


Title: Re: How long have folks waited for agent's notes?
Post by: Rachael846 on July 17, 2017, 10:44:06 AM
And in my case it was edits and comments in the manuscript and a 3 page edit letter.


Title: Re: How long have folks waited for agent's notes?
Post by: skribbler on July 18, 2017, 05:44:10 PM
I kind of think this is going to be notes and edits, or at least an informed conversation in more depth than our initial one. I stopped pinning her down for an appointment, which I think had her feeling cornered, and just said I looked forward to talking when she was ready.

On the bright side, we got a puppy this weekend, which is so much work I've pretty much forgotten all about my book. (And day job, which could be a bigger problem than the slow agent.)


Title: Re: How long have folks waited for agent's notes?
Post by: Sarah Ahiers (Falen) on July 19, 2017, 10:06:56 AM
I got a puppy a few weeks ago! And yes, they do wonders for keeping your mind of the stressful authoring business!


Title: Re: How long have folks waited for agent's notes?
Post by: skribbler on July 19, 2017, 11:22:27 PM
Frankly, I haven't been this stressed out since my son was born 21 years ago. But like him, I'm hoping the puppy gets indepen . . .   Shoot. That hasn't even happened to my son yet.

Anyway, it's going to make re-writing after notes a walk in the park.


Title: Re: How long have folks waited for agent's notes?
Post by: skribbler on August 31, 2017, 02:40:18 PM
Now that September's almost here, I find the fact that I was complaining in mid-July about not getting agent's notes a little quaint. I keep getting e-mail about every ten days that she'll have them ready in a week. This is all to say to those who're still on the hunt for an agent to remember that through every door is another door.

I'm real happy I have representation. Will be even happier if I get a publisher someday. It ain't over 'til it's over.


Title: Re: How long have folks waited for agent's notes?
Post by: Tabris on August 31, 2017, 02:56:45 PM
Don't do what I did. My agent sat on my manuscript for seven months with the continual promise that she'd work on it, she'd work on it, she'd work on it... When the notes came back, it was clear she'd skimmed through and wasn't paying attention. I should have walked out the door then and there. I should have walked at about the three month mark, actually, but she kept me hanging on with the same line, that surely eventually when the time was right she'd give me notes.

She also told me she didn't have time to write an editorial letter, then two days later tweeted about how much fun she was having writing a different client's editorial letter. Yes, I called her on that garbage. Don't put up with this much longer.


Title: Re: How long have folks waited for agent's notes?
Post by: Pandean on September 01, 2017, 01:17:46 AM
My editor from MacMillan/St.Martins/Wednesday books is sending my at the end of the weekend, hopefully. I signed with them sometime in October.

Granted, she's been busy because of the new imprint she's heading, another editor going on maternity leave, and my novel ended up being pushed back slightly (from Fall 2018 to Winter 2019 which is just a few months because they believe it'll sell better) so it all made sense.

I'm not entirely sure what an agent would be like with edit letters because I don't have one.

I have representation but it's different. Got a very different arrangement.


Title: Re: How long have folks waited for agent's notes?
Post by: gckatz on September 01, 2017, 09:25:29 AM
Four months is too long without an explanation. More importantly, the fact that your agent is not communicating honestly is not acceptable. If she told you "I'm having surgery and I won't be able to get you your edit letter for four months," that would be one thing. But she's not keeping her word to you, and that shows that she isn't valuing you the way she should.

Get her on the phone and lay down the law.


Title: Re: How long have folks waited for agent's notes?
Post by: skribbler on September 01, 2017, 04:15:28 PM
I'm going to call her soon.

Part of my patience is due to the fact that I've worked in publishing for the last thirty years, and as frustrating as it is, this kind of thing isn't completely a surprise. And it's not limited just to agents, and it's not limited just to bad people. Authors do it, editors do it, reviewers do it . . . agents do it. It is probably the most procrastination-prone industry in the world.

That said, it's time for some behavior mod.


Title: Re: How long have folks waited for agent's notes?
Post by: Sarah Ahiers (Falen) on September 05, 2017, 09:12:04 AM
I keep getting e-mail about every ten days that she'll have them ready in a week. 

So my editor is like this. But man, I would not stand for this from my agent. You need to have a talk with her.


Title: Re: How long have folks waited for agent's notes?
Post by: skribbler on September 06, 2017, 04:51:49 PM
I wrote to her this weekend, asking her specifically not to promise deadlines she couldn't keep. Even if she needed another three months, fine. But not another "next week" with the best of intentions. She immediately got back to me saying, "Ok, let's say two more weeks." Lucy once more places the football for Charlie Brown . . .


Title: Re: How long have folks waited for agent's notes?
Post by: Tabris on September 06, 2017, 04:58:50 PM
If two weeks pass and you don't get your response, what are the consequences? Think about it now so you know what you'll do and won't just cave and give her another two weeks.


Title: Re: How long have folks waited for agent's notes?
Post by: Sarah Ahiers (Falen) on September 07, 2017, 08:09:08 AM
Let us know how it goes


Title: Re: How long have folks waited for agent's notes?
Post by: skribbler on September 07, 2017, 12:28:40 PM
I've been thinking about consequences for a while.

She's a major player, and I know she's always up to her gills in work. She represents a good friend who's had phenomenal success with her but admits she can't organize her way out of a paper bag. In her defense, I'll say she e-mails me back immediately every time I contact her. I mean within the hour.

When she misses the next deadline, I'll call her and we'll talk. She's been available to talk both times I've called in the last four months, and my impression remains that the problem is 60% how busy she is, 35% how disorganized she is, and maybe 5% some BS.

One option I don't have is walking away to another agent. My book is definitely an acquired taste. This person is the first agent of dozens, and over a decade, who has loved it without qualification, and the only one to offer to rep. If I walk away, I'm walking away without other offers.


Title: Re: How long have folks waited for agent's notes?
Post by: Sarah Ahiers (Falen) on September 07, 2017, 02:38:23 PM
I mean, my agent is a mega player, too, but she still gets my stuff back to me on time (sooner than I usually expect, actually.)

Hopefully she'll get back to you this time and this will just be a small bump in the road of better time management going forward


Title: Re: How long have folks waited for agent's notes?
Post by: skribbler on September 08, 2017, 11:55:23 AM
Yeah, Sarah, the first agent who took me was much, much better at the day-to-day. We parted when I didn't write the book she was hoping I'd write, which led to three years in the wilderness. If I'd just written that book, my second one would probably be in some publisher's catalog by now.


Title: Re: How long have folks waited for agent's notes?
Post by: nycgirl on September 18, 2017, 06:27:01 PM
My agent takes about 2 months, but my MS comes back HEAVILY marked up with a detailed editorial letter. The wait's hard, but it's always worth it!


Title: Re: How long have folks waited for agent's notes?
Post by: skribbler on October 10, 2017, 04:37:09 PM
I know should wait until I get the package before crying with relief - and before telling you all - but out of the blue, got this quick e-mail this morning:

"i am so sorry but i am finally done. Please confirm the correct address and the work will go in the mail today."

What was that? Five months? Well, she never disappeared. Always answered e-mails the same day. Just kept promising quicker turnaround than she could do.


Title: Re: How long have folks waited for agent's notes?
Post by: Sarah Ahiers (Falen) on October 11, 2017, 02:49:59 PM
Well, I'm glad you've heard from her and are getting your stuff. If it happens again, though, I think you should still consider having a talk.


Title: Re: How long have folks waited for agent's notes?
Post by: Terri_Martin on November 01, 2017, 10:02:44 PM
I know should wait until I get the package before crying with relief - and before telling you all - but out of the blue, got this quick e-mail this morning:

"i am so sorry but i am finally done. Please confirm the correct address and the work will go in the mail today."

What was that? Five months? Well, she never disappeared. Always answered e-mails the same day. Just kept promising quicker turnaround than she could do.

So did the package go in the mail as promised?


Title: Re: How long have folks waited for agent's notes?
Post by: MaryL on November 05, 2017, 07:54:33 AM
"The agent works for YOU. The agent works for YOU. The agent works for YOU." That's my mantra. It's time for a phone call. An amicable, professional phone call with the person who represents work on your behalf. Hopefully, it's merely a communication issue.