STATUS: Don’t mind me. I just took an extended MLK holiday! Seriously, I just forgot to blog yesterday. I had 3 meetings and the third one didn’t end until 8 p.m. I kept thinking I was forgetting something but it didn’t occur to me until this morning that it was the blog entry.
What’s playing on the iPod right now? ORANGE COLORED SKY by Natalie Cole
Very few of my blog readers probably suffer from the misassumption that publishing moves quickly once an offer is made.
But just in case you do think that, let me make it clear for the record that publishing moves at a snail’s pace that probably wouldn’t be tolerated in other industries. And lately, it seems, publishing houses are moving at an interminably slow pace when it comes to mailing out contracts for deals recently made. Ninety-five year old grandmothers on the highway in their Buicks move faster than publishers. And personally, I don’t think claiming “the holidays” is enough of an excuse.
Let me give you just a sampling of what agents like me are dealing with.
In November (2007), I concluded the deal points for two offers. Just this week I received a contract for one of those deals, and I’m still waiting on the contract for the other. And trust me, it’s not like this delay went unnoticed. I’ve been prodding since early December.
So what I’m saying is that my job often entails loud and frequent whining.
Here’s another example. For a deal “concluded” in late October, I received the contracts the first week in December (which isn’t too bad actually). It took my contracts manager and me about a week to review and then write up the letter to the contracts director at the publishing house.
Now we have been waiting a month and three weeks for a response. Yes the holidays were in the middle of that and yes, I can be flexible but when we are three weeks into the new year without a response, the you-know-what has hitteth the fan.
So what can an agent do? Well, we can give an ultimatum (as in if I don’t have the contract by XYZ date, the deal is off) but that is rarely what an author wants. After all, they have accepted this offer for a reason. Sometimes, it’s necessary though and when push has come to shove and a deadline has been given, response time quickens remarkably.
Funny how that happens…