I know how exciting it is to read those lovely words, “Please send me your proposal and first three chapters.” And I love to write them because it signifies a kiss of hope that an author has written something so brilliant that I’ll jump over diseased yaks to offer a contract.
But here’s the catch: I gotta read it first.
This takes time because your proposal isn’t the only one sitting in my Submissions folder. Right now I’m sitting on fourteen fulls that need to be read and analyzed, and my mouth is watering at the prospect of every single one. If all I did was read, I’d have been up to date ages ago. But my days are filled with a myriad of things, so I have to adhere to a pretty strict schedule.
So it makes my teeth itch when you write me after one week, asking if I’ve had a chance to read your full. The answer is no. Unless I’m having an usually empty week, which has yet to happen over eight years, then you can count on waiting.
I know. It sucks stale Twinkie cream. You hurried to bang out a fabulous proposal and send me your chapters, and what ho? You gotta wait?
Yes, my darlings, you have to wait. I’m sorry it has to work this way, but editors still have to do things the old-fashioned way by reading what you send. My days are filled with a million things that don’t include reading submissions, so it’s a balancing act as to what gets my attention on any particular day.
The standard waiting period before sending a nagmail is three months. I know…that’s a long time to wait, and I try very hard not to let that happen because I want to be the first to offer a contract if your story is fabulous. If I wait, then I may lose out to another editor…which has happened twice on books that really hurt to lose.
So here are a few words to the wise: If you’re working on your platform by granting interviews, then be careful about what you say with respect to a contract deal. I’ve seen interviews where the author said they had a book coming out, yet no contract had even been offered.
First off, it’s not a good idea to stretch the truth to its breaking point because it makes you look really silly if you’re found out.
Secondly, stating that you have a book coming out when you don’t adds an extra monkey to your back. You fibbered, so now you’re even more invested in seeing that hurry-up-and-wait turn into a book deal. Sometimes that leads authors to tell the submitting editor about what they told the interviewer. All I can say is it ain’t my problem.
I do understand that you’re anxious, but I have a lot on my plate at all times. All editors do. We can’t shoulder the burden of whatever you may have said or done in establishing your platform. Giving me the bum’s rush doesn’t prod me into shoving aside whatever I’m currently working on. It’s like literary bug repellant…especially if you’re asking me after ONE WEEK.
If you remember that your manuscript is one of many, maybe it will invite a bit of empathy on your part. I know it may seem that we take way too much time reading, considering, analyzing, and discussing a potential project, but we’re spending a bucket of money, so we have to feel confident. And we have to do that with ALL the submissions we read, and you can’t rush that.
What is that great saying…The hurrider I go, the behinder I get.
So thank you for not rushing me.