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It is no secret, that agents are busy. Do you know that our inboxes, most of the time, have hundreds of query letters in them? And that has nothing to do with the emails from our existing clientele or from publishers contacting us about in house projects. My inbox is a beast. A beast that won’t ever be tamed. I have accepted it. With that said, all I can do is try my best to manage it. This form of management has a pecking order. My existing clients and publishing professionals have to take top priority over “potential” clients. If I want to keep my clients happy, sell them, and help them grow their careers, then this is the priority.

So, when you pitch an agent, you will wait. We aren’t trying to be ugly. We aren’t ignoring you, but we are racing from email to email to email, and I typically go in order of date received. I work for an awesome boutique agency that is based in Colorado Springs, The Blythe Daniel Agency. There are only two of us, and I handle all of our fiction by myself. And to top it all off, I am a SLOW reader. I have clients that can read me under the table, and I’m the one who does this professionally. The wait time for me getting to your query can be anywhere from 1 month to 12 months, especially if you are a fiction writer.

I say all this to show you that waiting is a part of this industry. And some people wait better than others. I like to call it simmering. Some writer’s get really impatient with this process, and their initial, polite pitching demeanor quickly escalates to a boiling point of frustration. As the saying goes, their true colors begin to shine through during that waiting period. They might ping me on multiple forms of social media, when I already told them a time frame for my review. They might start speaking or yelling in ALL CAPS, because their patience is running thin. Some authors resort to baiting for an answer. They tell me that there are multiple agencies vying for them so they “have to know now.” Now, this can be a totally true scenario, but there are times that I’ve inquired about who else is interested and never heard from them again. This impatience may indeed get you a very quick “I’ll pass.” For me, the manner in which you wait, tells me almost everything that I need to know about what a working relationship with you will look like. Will you treat me this way after I’ve given you what you want? Will you exhibit kindness and patience when you begin to deal with my professional contacts? Or will your frustration boil over every time I’m not as fast as you think I should be? It’s so telling.

On the flip side, there are so many authors that know what “waiting well” looks like. They email politely to “check in” and they wait. And I know the wait for them has probably been years, and I really feel for them. Because what authors forget is that agents are waiting too. We wait 40-100 times over depending on our client list, and we wait 365 days a year to hear that one “yes” on your behalf. And once you’ve published your first book, the process starts all over again. We wait for you to finish your manuscript, we wait for the publishers to review what we have pitched for you, and we wait sometimes 2 years to see your book on the shelf. We rejoice with you in the end, but we have logged years of waiting with you. If you want an agent, you must wait well. And if waiting is difficult for you, then you might want to re-consider the industry that you have chosen. The publishing industry is amazing, but to publish anything of worth, there is a process that takes place, and this process takes time.

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This series is part of the #Write31Days challenge. To read all the posts in this series click here.

 

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