Q1. Given these recessionary times, are nervous publishers holding back on making decisions to take on a book? I have a legitimate, well established agent and my novel was submitted to several of the bigger publishers precisely three months ago and no decision has been made about a deal from any of the publishing houses. Q2. Is it indicative of the depressed market, taking much longer to make decisions? Q3. As agents go, do publishers give them a pecking order, and so my agent may be lower in the pecking order? I'm so frustrated right now, because my agent is not giving me any reasons as to why. Even though I asked, I'm just told they'll be in touch. I'm not badgering or taxing anyone's time by any stretch, and I'm certainly not the impatient type. Just trying to figure out what's happening.Q1. No, they're just paying a bit less for them.
I'm a writer from Texas and I recently signed with a literary agent. About five weeks ago, my YA fiction novel went out on its first round of submissions to a collection of major publishing houses and....I haven't heard a thing! I'm going looney. Q4. What happens once an agent submits to a publishing house? Q5. How long does it take for an editor to read a submission? Q6. Do they contact the agent if they're interested or just plow forward in preparation for an offer? Q7. Do you think it's a good thing or a bad thing that I've yet to receive a response?
I'm in the exciting but wretched Waiting Place: my full MS has been requested after a query + three chapter submission. Three questions, which might be difficult to answer but here goes: Q8. From roughly what proportion of partial submissions do you then request the full? Q9. Of those fulls you request, what proportion of manuscripts would actually be acquired? Q10. Are you more likely to request a full if you met the author and got on reasonably well with them at a conference or workshop, or would that have no bearing whatsoever on your decision? Q11. Or if the author had already been published, would that be more persuasive? I know answers would vary for each editor, but I'm interested to get just a rough idea, if that's possible!
Q2. Sometimes we kind of waffle about manuscripts, figuring if it's something special the agent will get in touch to tell us about the interest it's getting at other houses, and then we can put it at the top of our priority list. (We know we're being lame when we do this. We're too busy, dammit.)
It is indicative of the depressed market that some of our colleagues have been fired and those editors remaining are expected to do more with less, which, considering what we were already doing with how little, is a mathematical impossibility.
Q3. Sure. But the pecking order will vary editor-to-editor: I have a couple of agents who are very frequently on my wavelength. I love them.
Q4. Something similar to this.
Q5. Varies. A couple hours, sometimes. Overnight, maybe. Or four months from now.
Yes, that's right. Deal with it.
Q6. I'll usually let the agent know I'm interested, because I want to be kept abreast of whether I have any competition from other houses. If I know I have an exclusive, though, then I might not.
Q7. Either. Neither. Could mean nothing.
Q8. Probably 1 in 10. But that's really, really going to vary per editor.
Q9. Perhaps 1 in 10 again. I'm guessing, though-- I'm certainly not keeping a tally sheet.
Q10. Having the sense that the author is a pleasant, sane, professional person who will not be a pain in my ass during editing does buy some points, yes. Not enough to forgive crap writing, though.
Q11. Depends what they published, where, and how well it did.
Waiting is tough, I understand. It can seem like you'd need a theoretical physicist to explain why time seems to move so much more slowly around publishing houses.
But I imagine it feels the same way to the people who supply firehouses with equipment. Why haven't the firefighters responded to the new line of hoses? Are they ever going to place an order? What are they so busy with, anyway?
Authors should attempt to cope with this by keeping themselves extremely busy as well-- setting lots of deadlines for yourselves for creative tasks, errands, self-promotion, etc etc etc.