Tuesday, June 3, 2008

"You wrote a book? Really?" (Part 3)

...which they starting doing as soon as they received permission from me. In the meantime, I took them up on their advice on contacting them whenever I wanted a status report on how things were going. I developed a pattern of contacting them every other month, first by snail mail, then by e-mail (mistake #3). I figured that things would move at a relatively quick pace when came to editors reading my manuscript.

To quote a Monty Python sketch, "WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!" During the spring and summer of 2007, I learned to my chagrin just how glacier the submission process truly was. For about four months, I had about several publishers (according to my agents) looking at my manuscript. I also had about one rejection, which was from another publisher I submitted my manuscript to (basically, they didn't read it. this conclusion was reached due to how it was repackaged and sent back to me. even I wouldn't have read it, knowing what I know now. everything was done completely wrong by me, which I will cover in further detail later on) previously before hooking up with my agent.

During the summer, it was about the same: I sent a query, via the e-mail (mistake #3), asking about the status of the manuscript. I would then be given a cheery status report, saying it was with a half dozen publishers, with an occasional rejection thrown in for fun.

This went on for quite a while. As summer morphed into autumn, I began to start having serious doubts about the ability of my agent to actually sell my manuscript for me. I believe what happened next was partially due to outside influences and partially due to me being something of a hothead.

While I was starting to develop a few nagging suspicions (mistake #4) about my agent, certain events that were going on in my life were starting to take their toll on me, mentally. In mid September 2007, I became involved in a very public and very nasty online battle in a chat forum called "Topix". It was quite brutal, exceptionally personal, involved about a dozen people, and lasted until mid October. The collateral damage that was inflicted, while brief, was significant.

Around mid-October, while I was being ripped to shreds publicly in a chat forum and privately via the e-mail, I sent my bi-monthly e-mail status report request to my agent. About a week and a half went by and no response was forthcoming. By this time, with the dust from the online battle barely settling, I was now in a full "WTF!" frame of mind.

So, being in that particular frame of mind, I wrote a rather pointed one page letter (mistake #5). In it, I asked a few key questions:

From what you’ve told me so far, I have about three rejections of my manuscript. Have all of these been outright rejections, or have they been rejections coupled with advice on how to fix the manuscript? Are the publishers actually reading the manuscript, or are they simply rejecting it sight unseen? With only a few rejections received over the course of eight months, is this normal for this particular time frame? Lastly, is there a realistic chance that this manuscript will be sold in the next few months?

I mailed this bad boy off the next day, October 23rd, and anxiously waited for an answer...

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