Six Minutes in Hell

Six minutes.

Well, less, actually.

One of the few things I’ve learned in the weeks since I joined Twitter is that time suck aside, sometimes you can find some very interesting little gems. Take, for instance, the editor tips, tweeted by Adrien-Luc Sanders, editor for Entangled. He posts them in blog format at the end of the day, and since once I leave work I rarely check my Twitter feed (and really, I should stop looking at it at work, too, because eight out of ten tweets are utter crap and not worth the five seconds I spent reading them) I usually check the blog at the end of the day, so I can read them all at once. Oh, and he’s often snarky. And we all know I’m a big fan of snark.

Recently he posted one where he reviews 10 queries in an hour, on average, leaving each potential author with six minutes to capture his attention and hold it. He then goes on to elaborate in this post, and adds that with a number of agents and editors, you actually get less.


So that’s their side of things. What about mine?

What I’m deathly afraid of, once I actually manage to land an agent and/or contract, is I’ll jump at it and be all excited because, you know, it’s the first one to come along after so many repeated attempts, only to find out shortly after that it’s really not for me. Here’s where the patience comes in.

I’m not known for my patience. I can only persevere for so long, until which point I WILL jump around and be all excited and take the first offer that comes my way (this has happened a few times when I’ve been hunting for a job, and I’ve always regretted it).

It is so damn hard, after so many rejections and non-responses, to not take that offer, even if the voice at the back of my head says, “No, no, bad, bad idea. Very bad idea. Back away. Far away.” Lucky for me, I haven’t had this happen yet (12 rejections and counting…) but when it does, here’s what I need to remember:

  • That agent, who, even after I sent a reminder query, prompting a second look? I did exactly what the submission guidelines asked, and it’s not until long after your posted review times that I get a response. I know you’re busy. So am I. If I follow your rules and you can’t even bother to follow them yourself, sorry. Next! (Note: this has actually happened to me a few times over the years, but it’s always been job related, not writing related. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if this happens in the writing world as well.)
  • I might love you, and you might love my work, and yes, our combined enthusiasm for my project would blow the roof off my house, but…can you really sell my project on enthusiasm for it alone? If I start thinking I should maybe query someone else instead of taking what you’re offering, I probably ought to figure out why I’m thinking that.
  • I’m not in this for the money. I’m in it for the glory. Can you really bring me glory? (I’m kidding. Sort of.)

Anyway. The moral of the story is two-fold: I must be uber-sparkly and witty, because without it I am a very dull girl and no one will want to listen to me. But you, agent and/or publisher, must also win me over. Part of learning patience is falling back on the comfort that I don’t have to take the first offer. I will listen to my doubts and tiny voices this time around, because this isn’t just a job that I can move on from if it’s not right. This is something being made available for public consumption, and if it’s not right the first time, people will remember and find it once I do get it right (and by “right”, I mean my personal standards of “right”. And they’re pretty damn high). So to save myself the trouble, I’m taking my time.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some packing to do.

2 thoughts on “Six Minutes in Hell

  1. I totally hear what you’re saying. It’s enough of a hurdle just to get someone’s interest, and the thought of *turning someone down* because I don’t think it’s a good fit just about blows my mind. Sigh…
    Good luck with the packing…

    1. I guess the important thing to remember is that even if you don’t turn them down immediately, you shouldn’t be afraid to *break up* with them if need be. Grr. It should be simple. I like simple.

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