Monday, March 22, 2010

it's okay to nudge

tonight’s blog is brought to you by the letter N, for naproxin, and the letter C, for carisoprodol… both of which are soothing my back and shoulder enough to let me sit up with my laptop. i wonder if writers are more prone to back injuries, since we spend so much time hunched over keyboards?

anyway, this post will hopefully be a pick-me-up for any writer currently in purgatory, waiting to hear from agents.

so you write and write and edit and edit and research and prepare and query and…… wait.

it’s tough, as a writer in search of an agent, to have so much momentum then suddenly have to hit the brakes and practice patience. it can be maddening, actually.

WHICH is why… some of those writers nudge potential agents much too soon. with emails such as this:
thanks again for requesting my full manuscript! i know your guidelines state it could take you up to 3 months to read requested materials, but query tracker says you usually take less than a month. plus ,i am stalking you on twitter, so i know you were out to dinner with friends last saturday when you probably should have been home catching up on your reading. how dare you have a life when my literary future is on the line! don’t you know who i am?! or.. um.. who i WILL be, once you agree to represent me?

which IS why… agents are all over blogs and twitter and writing forums stating how much pushy writers turn them off and that they won’t represent such crazies.

which is WHY… even writers who have it together and understand the process become quivering bundles of nerves when it comes time to contact an agent for any reason other than to query or send requested material, for fear of irritating said agent and blowing our chances at representation.

i felt that heart-racing uncertainty last week, but i dove in and sent two emails - one to an agent who invited me to nudge her after a month, the other to an agent who is preparing a revision letter for me.

and… whaddaya know?! they both sent back quick replies, BOTH thanking me for staying in touch and BOTH updating me on what was happening on their ends.
those emails made me feel reassured, confident and more than a little silly for worrying so much.

what did I expect? perhaps that they would email me back that i was a pushy, needy author and that not only would they not represent me but i’d “never work in publishing, NEVER!”
how silly.

of course the responses were polite, because the nudges were appropriate.

as long as you’re following the agent’s guidelines or industry standards for reasons and timing of contact, i say: Be confident. Click send. this is your (potential) career. and few people ever built a successful career by sitting back and being a wallflower, waiting for good things to just land in their laps.

now, the agent who told me she takes 3 months to respond to full manuscripts? she will be hearing from me in 27 days, 8 hours and 36 minutes… and not a second before, because that would be rude. but lookout, agent #3… in two months, you’re going to get a nudge to knock your socks off!


Tahereh said...

hehehe great post! so necessary!

thanks for the reminder :D

best of luck with your submissions!!

inkspatters said...

This is a great reminder. Especially for me, since I'm one of those people who finds it really difficult nudge because I just feel so awkward doing it -- it IS necessary, though. Twice I've found out that manuscript's never even reached their destination!

Kristin said...

Great post. Love the count-down. It's always nice to know I'm not the only one that has the days marked on my calendar.