I’m new to your blog and hope this is not an inappropriate question. At a small conference I met with an editor and pitched my psychological thriller. She spent extra time with me and said if I could do what I was attempting, I was a ‘friggin’ genius’—her words, not mine. She requested a full as soon as it was polished. Several pubbed authors have critiqued it and also have given it high praise. I sent it off on July 5, 2007. Haven’t heard a thing. I’m hoping that means that she’s considering publishing it. Does it usually take this long? Should I make contact? Am I just being too anxious? I’d like to start querying agents but I don’t know if I should at this point.
First let me welcome you to the blog and thank you for your question. There are no stupid questions and everything is appropriate. Especially since I will always make sure your questions remain anonymous.
I’m going to say it fairly simply: start querying agents now!!! And by now I mean yesterday. If you really do have an editor who is that excited and that interested in your book, then what are you waiting for? Get more people interested and excited. The truth is that July was a long time ago and anyone who really was as excited as she seemed be be would have responded within months, weeks, or even days. A lot of time has gone by, and at this point it just doesn’t seem that she’s as excited as she once was. Who knows why that is. Maybe her tastes have changed, maybe the direction of the publishing program at her house has changed, or maybe she is just bogged down and hasn’t gotten to it yet. Whatever it is, you cannot put your career on hold because one person, at one time, expressed enthusiasm. Whenever you get that kind of response from an agent or an editor you should absolutely be excited and get your work out, but you should also be looking for others who might be just as excited, or in this case, more so.
Let me ask you a question . . . are you looking to get published or are you looking to get published in the best possible way? If it’s the latter, then you want an agent on your side. Someone who can not only negotiate an amazing contract when the time comes, but who can also ensure that as many publishers see the book as possible and that you get sold to the one who can best move your career forward. Whether it’s this editor or not is yet to be determined, but even if she calls with an offer tomorrow, it serves you best to have an agent there to help you manage the terrain.
And last, I would definitely make contact with the editor. Let her know that you’re still alive and anxious to hear what she thinks. And then get querying.
Congratulations on having an idea that clearly has someone’s attention, but there’s no reason to pin everything on one editor or one agent. Life is too short and she’s already taken too long for someone who is supposedly so enthusiastic. Find an agent now who is excited enough to want to take your book to as many editors as possible and negotiate you the best deal.