STATUS: Working on client manuscripts this evening. Will have to switch music to something softer for concentration.
What’s playing on the iPod right now? ARE YOU GONNA BE MY GIRL by JET
I have a very simple agent policy. It goes like this. If I were an author, what would I want to know about my project and submission?
Well, I’m a control freak. That means I’d want to know everything. So that’s what my authors get—whether they like it or not!
Now every agent does it differently but when I’m putting a project on submission, here’s what I do.
1. Once the project is in the hands of all the editors, I send the author the editor submission list. (Now I do have to ‘fess up here that if I add an editor to the submit list at a later time, I often forget to tell the author of the addition. Not because I’m withholding the info but just because I forget to let them know. The author will often tell me when I forward the response that they didn’t realize that editor was looking at it. Then there is an oops moment. It was simply my bad. I probably thought I had told the author and hadn’t.)
2. When a response comes in (and it’s almost always by email these days), I immediately forward to the client. I don’t sugar coat either. I send the exact response we received. Now I often include a note if I feel like there should be some softening of the blow (so to speak). Or encouraging words if the submission is looking bleak or it has been a hard push. But if I were an author, I’d want to know exactly what was said. So, that’s what the clients get. Every once in a blue moon, an editor will mail a response letter. How quaint! If that happens, we scan the letter to PDF and email to the client. Also, some editors like to call—even if they are passing. If that happens, I take notes and then I forward my notes by email to the client. They aren’t escaping the response gosh darn.
3. Updates. I actually don’t really give any update unless the author emails and asks if I’ve heard anything. Then I’m happy to respond. Basically I just don’t remember to email the client to say that nothing has happened so far.
4. If we end up having to do several rounds of the submit (they do go in waves), then I simply follow this same process all over again.
5. I also share positive responses—as in an editor is seriously considering the work. Mostly that’s just me emailing the author and saying “not to get your hopes up too high as they can still pass, this editor is liking the read so far.” Have I had editors do that and then pass? You bet. That’s why I always caution the client. I realize that my effort to not raise hopes is futile (who can help getting excited by an editor’s interest?) but if I were that author, I’d want to know, even if there is pain later because the editor passed, or couldn’t get in-house support (which happens) or what have you.
Pretty basic but that’s what I do.