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An Agent’s Time

Why are there never enough hours in the day? I know everyone feels this way and I’m certainly no different, however as I watch the submission piles grow and the equeries come in I sometimes wonder what I do all day. How come I can’t get any of it done? So out of curiosity I tracked myself. How long do things actually take around here. Keep in mind this is not necessarily one day’s list, but an idea of how long different projects might take me.

  • Reading and responding to 25 equeries: 1 1/2 hours on a Sunday morning
  • Reading and editing the first 100 pages of a client’s next project, including sending it back with a letter: 3 hours
  • Reading and editing a client’s proposal (synopsis for three books only): 1 hour
  • Attending the BookEnds weekly meeting: 45 minutes
  • Reading daily publishing news that comes to me through email: 10 to 20 minutes (depending on how many links I click through)
  • Breakfast with a client: 4 hours (including travel time)
  • Introductory phone call with an editor newly assigned to my client: 15 minutes
  • Receiving a phone call from an editor with an offer: 10 minutes
  • Calling and telling a client that she’s just made her first deal: 15 very excited minutes
  • Read Publishers Weekly: 20 minutes
  • Writing a blog post: 20 minutes
  • Brainstorming phone call/career discussion with client: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Reviewing a contract from a publisher: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Lunch with an editor: 3 hours, 30 minutes (including travel time)
  • Career planning conversation with client: 40 minutes

So there you have it. A peek into what I do with my time.


Category: Blog



  1. Oh how exciting for both you and your client! Congratulations on that sale.

    And, thanks for sharing this peek into your business life. As always very interesting.

  2. Only fifteen minutes of the excitement? She let you off the phone after that? LOL.
    I love seeing how you spend your day. I don’t know HOW you edit stuff so fast. Considering how long it takes ME I’m envious.
    Very cool. Thanks for the insight as always.

  3. I applaud that your staff meetings only last 45 minutes. In my experience back in the real world, staff meetings were the biggest time-suck since campaign finance legislation. It’s amazing how some people can drone on for 20 minutes about nothing if someone doesn’t rein them in.

  4. Very insightful. It’s amazing how much you can do with your time if you plan it. And 3 hours for editing? You must have that down to an art form. I take much longer than that 🙂

  5. You really are organized. Thanks for the glimpse. I found when I retired from my day job I wrote less. I truly believe the busier you are the more you manage to get done.

    I’m sure my brain says, “What’s the rush, you’ve got all day.” Only problem is, it comes time to walk the dog in the evening and I wonder where the day went. I have to trick my lazy brain and make long lists and then check them off, just so I can look busy. Ha ha.

  6. So how much time do you spend on newly requested partials, especially short ones? One agent replied to my e query within 15 minutes, then requested a partial, and asked for the full ms. two weeks later (one week ago). Why are some established agents faster than others, assuming everyone has an assistant? Just curious!

  7. Question: if an agent has had a revised manuscript (i.e. one I revised for him/her) for five months and hasn’t been in touch, should I write him/her off?

  8. Peek, not peak. Sheesh! Yes, this is an informal posting format, but if careless mistakes are made here…

    Check your spelling all of the time you’re writing what others will read. It’s a good habit to get into.

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