STATUS: Yep, it’s late and I’m still working. I’m trying desperately to finish getting caught up. I have two clients who have waited longer than they should have to get feedback from me so I’m pulling some late nighters. My goal is to finish both by Friday—but I’ll probably need the long weekend. Incentive though. If I finish before, I might just take a mini-holiday.
What song is playing on the iPod right now? GOODBYE STRANGER by Supertramp
Now that I started ranting, you might not get me to stop.
Here’s another technology connection I think few writers realized.
Because technology advanced enough to make communication pretty seamless (mobile phones, internet, email, FedEx next day), a lot of agents realized that New York was no longer an anchor that had to exist. They could do this job from just about anywhere as long as they had the publishing contacts, a solid reputation, and used technology to their advantage.
And what a lot of writers also don’t realize is that a lot of editors started thinking this way. I can name 20 editors, off the top of my head, who don’t work mainly out of the New York office. They work remotely or only come into the office two days a week and it wouldn’t surprise me if that number is growing.
But back to the agents. Many decided to leave town and even some of the bigger houses have agents who don’t work in the New York office. Regardless of what you think of Friedman’s book, you can’t deny the argument that the world of publishing is getting flatter in many ways he defines in his book.
So Agents moved. Set up shop in California, Colorado (did you know that there are three fairly well- known agents living and working in the Denver area now and one of the most well-known agencies for the Christian market is in Colorado Springs?), Texas, Georgia, Florida, and I can’t even begin to list all the other states that have reputable agents with solid reputations. It’s not quite every state in the nation but a good portion are represented.
And we got tired of shipping full manuscripts—even with the relatively cheap rates of UPS.
So we started pushing. With each submission and for each editor, we would start asking whether we could send that manuscript electronically. Until it became common place. Now it’s the assumptive standard and if a hard copy is desired, it has to be specially requested.
Now obviously the New York agents started asking for this stuff too (because why wouldn’t they) but the big push came from those of us doing the biz outside the New York box—where we had to actively look for processes that made our lives and our jobs easier.
And it all starts with embracing technology that makes new possibilities available in this job.
Not to mention the savings to the clients because here’s another juicy secret that most writers don’t realize. Editors are very much like agents. Even if the full manuscript is sent, it’s very unlikely that editors will read it in its entirety if it’s not right for them. Most editors know within 50 pages whether a project can work for their list or meshes with their taste. Chances are good they are doing a quick read on screen or simply printing out 50 pages for the train and that enables them to come to a decision.
(And yes, some editors do end up reading the full before coming to a decision so yes, that does happen still.)
Those are some important first 50 pages. Sorry. It’s probably something more that y’all will start obsessing about.