At your early convenience, I would appreciate an update on where you are with [Manuscript]. If the book is to cause the change in today’s thinking about [subject matter] it must sell extensively.
I forwarded [Manuscript] to you for consideration in late July. At that time I discontinued all efforts to find an agent, as I felt it might be counterproductive to the Agency’s representation of it.
I am mailing a hard copy of it to you separately as it is too lengthy to email easily.
Then the author overnighted a copy of her book. $16 in postage! Way to make GK feel awful.
As I mentioned before, it's never a good idea to give an agent an unrequested exclusive--especially without telling them about it! And don't spend so darn much on postage. Priority mail, if you must mail something hard copy, is just fine.
As a follow-up, this did not work. This was received last week, and I haven't gotten back to her. Why?
Because whenever I think about it, I feel guilty. Guilt is the least productive emotion to evoke in an agent.
Now, all agents feel some amount of guilt all of the time. There's simply no way that we can keep up. There will always be at least a few authors we don't get back to in a timely fashion. So we develop a tolerance for guilt--we learn to live with it, and in some cases, repress it. Giving us more guilt won't get us to hop-to; it'll make us try not to think about you and your manuscript. Will we feel instantly better when we get back to you? Yes. Does that mean that, like a kid who has a report due in two weeks, we'll get right on that? No.
Here's how we usually prioritize:
- Our clients. Always first, unless they've done something like gone on Jerry Springer and ranted about their agents. Bad behavior makes us prioritize other clients first.
- Other agency stuff to do. There's always something, whether it's preparing for meetings or finding interns or planning parties for authors that belong to the agency but aren't, personally, ours.
- The authors we're most excited about, whose work we've read a little of and/or know will be good. We know we have to say Yes before another agent does. These works get placed immediately on Kindles and are read whenever possible.
- The requested manuscripts.
- Requesting work from queries.
- Rejecting manuscripts
- Rejecting queries
So, when your work comes in, it gets quickly sorted into one of three groups:
- Totally amazing. Read right-effing-now. I mark these with a bright green Promising label. Thank you, Gmail.
- Not sure yet. Will have to read.
- Reluctantly requested. If, for example, an author has an amazing platform but I don't like their query (but feel obligated to request it), the work goes here.
- OMFG. I'm finishing this right now. If I had a desk of manuscripts, I would, like in the movies, pick up everything else and shove it off.
- Mehhhh. Not sure. I'll have the interns read it to see what they think. Then, if they say no and I disagree and worry about losing it, I'll read the rest; if they say yes and I still don't feel excited about it, I'll know to say no.
- Next! Marked to reject later. Sometimes I read things the same day they came in--and make decisions that day, too. Or I'll be home, reading the manuscript at 11 pm--and won't, of course, email the author then. This leads to an unfortunate impression for the author, so I'll wait a few days.