First, an update on JustWriteCat’s submission process (or, the process of my submission which sounds wrong and sort of dirty):
As of May 10th, I have a partial out to four agents, a full to one agent, and one unanswered query. Sending out the partials was certainly scary, but that full – whew, something about sending out your entire manuscript is downright nerve-racking. Let me add that all of the agents who requested material were incredibly quick to respond and very friendly. I know it can takes weeks, even months, to hear back on your query (longer on your partial or full), so I guess I lucked out. Or the stars were aligned just right or something. Whatever the reason, be sure you have EVERYTHING ready to send out should you get a fast response to your query. In addition to your completed manuscript, you should probably have a synopsis and short bio ready to send as well.
Not all agents will ask for a synopsis, but it’s good to have one ready. Even if you’re not asked for one, writing a synopsis helps you get a better handle on your novel. Sure, it’s a pain in the buns to write – but it serves a purpose. For help, check out the following sites:
Guide to Literary Agents – offers examples of well-written synopsis (primarily based on films).
Mastering the Dreaded Synopsis – straightforward approach, but be sure to check individual agent guidelines if they request a synopsis.
Nathan Bransford’s Blog (his blog is great for a number of reasons) – practical advice on how to tackle a synopsis. You may want to start with this one!
The bio was rather fun to write. I don’t know if it’s good – but it was fun! I felt like George in that episode of Seinfeld, where he keeps saying things like “George likes his chicken spicy.” “George is getting upset!” I might have a “talk about yourself in third person” day once a month. You know, just to keep the family guessing about my sanity. Oh wait, they already do that anyway…. Catherine doesn’t like it when people talk about her behind her back!
An aside – about response times….I emailed the full manuscript to one of the agents this morning. She quickly replied to let me know that she’d received the file, was able to download it, and was looking forward to reading it. She also told me that given things were hectic, it might take up to sixty days for her to get back to me. She even apologized that it might take that long. Wow. First, sixty days is really not that long for an agent to read a full. From what I understand, that is rather a fast turn around. Most agents state (on their submission guidelines) that it can take up to six months to read a full. So, two months – I’m happy. And, I think it was very cool of her to reply and give me a heads-up on the timeline.
You may wonder why it can take months for someone to read a manuscript. Well, yours is not the only one they have to read. Plus, they have – uh – clients…. I’ve noticed a few agents post a query or partial/full status update on their blogs. Often, they have something like thirty fulls to read (plus hundreds of queries). That’s thirty books, people. I mean, I’m a fast reader (I read Stephen King’s Under the Dome in three days, without neglecting my family) – but thirty manuscripts? With more coming in each week? Not to mention, agents do have a life (see below). Anyway, patience people. Patience and understanding. 🙂
That’s the status update on Set ‘Em Up, Joe. And so now, I wait. And write. And maybe go a little crazy, but I can put that to good use (which goes back to the writing part). Here are some other things to do whilst waiting to hear back on your query/partial/full/hopes & dreams (about that last one – even if the responses are ‘a pass’, never, never, ever, never give up your hopes & dreams. Never, ever.
Things to Occupy Your Time
Start or continue on your next novel (duh).
Social media – work on your blog, visit/comment on other blogs, tweet – get connected!
Catch up on your reading. I checked out over a dozen books last week – with several more on hold. I also have a few purchased books to read on my Kindle. I’m set, for at least two weeks.
Hey! Did you know that there’s a whole world out there, filled with people and places and things to do? It’s called – ‘real life’. Give it a try. Sure, sometimes it’s not quite as…exciting…as the world you get lost in when you write, but sometimes it is!
Learn a foreign language. Seriously. We’re starting a Spanish program (as a family) this week. Next – Italian.
Start a hobby. I have a vegetable garden. And not a small one. My husband built five raised beds…and ahem, I asked him to build another one last week.
Watch the first two seasons of Damages (netflix). The writing is incredible!
What about you? How do you maintain your sanity while waiting to hear back from an agent? How do you find balance in your life (which is really the hidden topic of this post)?
*Yes, I love Oscar Wilde. And Stephen King. And Jane Austen. Go figure, I like variety.