Blogger: Rachel Zurakowski
Location: Books & Such Main Office, Santa Rosa, Calif.
An agent’s Monday starts out much like yours, I bet, but you tell me. Here’s a typical Rachel Monday:
The alarm clock rings, and I hit snooze. This process repeats itself until I know that if I don’t get out of bed, I’m going to be seriously late to work. I already sacrificed the time for my shower two or three snoozes ago. Good thing the people at work understand and also usually look a little rumpled on Monday.
I get ready for work and grab the most important meal of any Monday–my coffee–then it’s off to the office.
On arrival, I take a quick inventory of my workload.
Email box full? Check!
Query box full? Check!
Stack of mail at least two feet high? Check!
My calendar is pretty clear today. Personally, I don”t like having Monday phone calls because I need Mondays to get revved up for the week. If there’s an emergency or if there is no other day that could work for a call, I’ll of course have a Monday call, but if I can avoid ’em I do.
I typically spend my Mondays clearing queries. At Books & Such, this used to involve hours of sending individual replies to each author. This last year we made a change; we now inform authors on our website and with an auto-reply that we’ll only reply to the queries that seem to be a good fit for our agency and that intrigue us enough to ask to see more. This was a necessary step because queries were eating away our work time (we can’t earn a living just by reading queries), and it has really freed us. Now query review is as simple as reading queries and sorting them into the appropriate email folders. If I see something I like, I send a request for a proposal. If the book isn’t a proper fit for our agency, we put it in a sub-folder marked with the current month and year. The time we save by using the standard reply allows us to read the letters we receive more thoroughly, too.
I also spend time on Monday answering emails from the authors I represent. Their notes are very important to me, and I try to answer them as quickly as possible.
By the time 5 pm rolls around, Ive worked up an appetite and am ready for dinner.
James Andrew Wilson
So when do you make time to read new manuscripts from your clients? You know, those groundbreaking, mind-bending, heart-wrenching, impossible-to-put-down, brilliant new manuscripts, not unlike the one that arrived at your door last week?
Great post. Looking forward to seeing what your Tuesday holds. I bet there’s coffee involved.
🙂 James, I do read some each week, I promise! You’ll have to check out the rest of the days this week to see when.
You’re right, there’s coffee involved pretty much every day.
Haha, I can relate to the Monday rumpled look. I am an expert in the way of all things snooze. 🙂
Rachel, This post is why I was/am ALWAYS so grateful for the teeniest morsel of feedback from a declining agent on a query proposal. That five, ten or fifteen minutes taken to offer suggestions is invaluable to a writer and no easy task when an agent’s daily workload is, well, loaded.
Yes, coffee! I did not start on the black stuff until I after I had my twins. I have no idea how I survived until then ;P
That IS a busy Monday, huh?? LOL.
Inherently we know that reading queries takes time that agents do not get paid for. However, when you break it down like this, it really puts it into perspective on how valuable and time consuming a personal rejection is. Many thanks for highlighting this.
So, roughly how many queries do you get/read per week?
I can’t wait to see what your Tuesdays hold! 🙂
Cat, I probably read 150-200 queries a week. I haven’t read any today. 🙂
200 queries a week! Wow. Thanks for putting that in numbers, since I think a lot of authors don’t realize the competition.