Blogger: Wendy Lawton
Are you tired of hearing us talk about the agent time crunch? Unfortunately, it’s the reason for much of our agent angst. Most of us maintain a set level of clients and it takes more than a forty-hour work week to serve them. Sometimes considerably more. But we love it, and we wouldn’t do anything else. I’m guessing we’re not so different from anyone else reading this. Time is in short supply for all of us, and it causes us to have to make hard choices. Right?
Time realities cause an unfortunate logjam in my practice. When clients send a new proposal or a new manuscript, they begin counting down the time until I make comments. You’d think I could get to a proposal in a couple of days and get a manuscript read and assessed in a week to ten days, wouldn’t you? That would be in a perfect world. Because I represent more than one client, I tend to get a number of manuscripts all at once. The same with proposals. These submissions go into a priority pile as opposed to the requested proposals from potential clients which have to come second. I get to that priority pile as quickly as possible. Never as quickly as I’d wish.
Bless my clients, they understand the delay. It takes time to read the material, comment, perhaps send it back for changes and finally get it to the place I’m ready to shop it. It’s frustrating for me, as an agent, because we make our sales by submitting the material. I’m guessing that some writers who are not yet agented think that signing with an agent means all the roadblocks are magically gone. Not true. Picture that logging operation where all the logs are floating down the river until they hit the narrows. Everything jams and backs up. The much-dreaded logjam. It happens in your agent’s office as well.
If I didn’t believe in God’s perfect timing, I think I might give up. The process of the first sale is so circuitous that it hardly seems possible that this whole industry works. But it does. Despite logjams and a reportedly slow market I have sold thirty-three books so far in 2016. And it’s only just revving up.
Delays in finding representation, delays after representation. Does it discourage you that this process is so convoluted and fraught with logjams? Are you philosophical about it? Got any solutions? Got any comments? Got any logjams of your own?