Having been both a client and an agent, I completely understand the frustration of waiting.
- Waiting to hear back from publishers
- Waiting for your agent to send out your work again
- Waiting when someone requests a full for a manuscript (and trying and failing not to stalk them on social media)
But what happens when our agents don't send out our work, or we haven't heard from them in months? Have they forgotten about us?
In short: no.
But that's not the point of reading a blog post is to get a one-word answer.
I'll highlight what your agent might be doing in the down months.
When not sending your work to an editor, an agent works on building her list of contacts in the publishing world. Better to meet more editors than shop around manuscripts to the same twenty people.
Bonus points, during these meetings, if an agent hears an editor likes a genre similar to yours, they'll try to pitch it at these meetings. Submissions rounds don't just happen when agents send out emails.
I've gotten a number of clients contracts from these meetings.
If not in a one-on-one meeting, an agent is at a conference meeting with editors or scooping up whatever information they can about the top trends in the industry.
Analyzing Market Trends Daily
Most agents subscribe to Publishers Marketplace emails.
There we receive daily updates about new deals, new imprints, and where editors are moving in the industry. Everything changes constantly. From that, we can determine what kinds of books editors want to take a look at, what new imprints might want to see your book, and which editors left certain houses we submitted to.
Agents don't just send out submissions and call it a day.
Sometimes publishers take significantly longer than 3 months to get back.
Some just ignore agent emails altogether.
And sometimes servers bounce back emails or drop you in their spam folder. Agents constantly have to check in with publishers to make sure they:
A) Had a chance to read your client's submission
B) Aren't just ignoring you and
C) Actually got the email
It would surprise you how much emails disappear in this industry. We stay alert and make sure we get your manuscript into the right hands.
While that may not seem like a lot, it takes hundreds of hours per client to match you to the right house. Sometimes a house may take on sci-fi one day and decide the next they don't want any more sci-fi. Sometimes they just take on a certain genre in-house.
We cycle between these four other items daily to ensure you end up in the right hands at the right time.