Sunday, June 3, 2007

The Three-Day Martini Lunch (and other vacations I need to find time for)

My agent is trying to teach me patience...others have tried, my pastor, teachers, partner...it isn't an easy task.

My agent was offered a contract for my first book, a YA novel. She, my agent, wanted to negotiate for better terms so I haven't signed anything yet. How long does that process take, on average? I haven't heard from my agent for a couple of weeks. Which wouldn't worry me except that once, on the eve of closing on buying my first house, my mortgage broker took off on a three-day drinking binge with all our mortgage documents in the trunk of his car. Really. No one could find him, until he showed up four days later all, "Where's the (hiccup) table? We've gosh work to (hiccup) do."


Two weeks is almost nano-seconds to editors. (Especially certain weeks in April, May, and June, which may include Bologna, IRA, BEA, ALA, and a publisher's presentation of its new books to its sales force. This is crazy time for us.) Inquiries should usually be made after a couple of weeks, but letting it go for a month during this hectic time will be appreciated by the editor, and your agent probably knows this.

Before you and an agent team up, you should do the research that reassures you that the agent is one who knows the industry and has sold projects before to the trade houses. Because you can't look over your agent's shoulder all the time (and trying to is just going to make her bonkers), and you have to trust her to be getting it right.

Once you know that about your agent and the two of you have joined forces, then it is time to embark upon the second Great Work of all authors: trying not to freak out while other people are doing their jobs. I say this sympathetically; I know it's hard for authors. But it's important for you to recognize it as necessary work, to remember that all the other authors have been through it as well, and 90% of all the author worrying that gets done is unnecessary.

I think it's just part of the artistic temperament to be a worrier. Embrace this about yourself. Just try to avoid forcing your agent and your editor to embrace it.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reminder that relaxation and letting go are important spiritual and publishing practices.

Anonymous said...

If nothing happens in certain months because editors are busy, and nothing happens in certain other months (e.g. August and December) because everyone's on vacation, when the heck does anything ever happen?