thoughts on yesterday’s poll

Okay…. y’all can stop voting now (unless you’re doing it just for fun). I tend to be ridiculously ambitious on Mondays, and today’s task list is naturally markedly different from yesterday’s. Besides, when I got into my office this morning, there was no internet for me, so that definitely made an impact on what I could and couldn’t do. It really slows a person down, doesn’t it?

I’ll admit that the whole poll was something of a social experiment to see what people might suggest when faced with the kinds of tasks I list out for myself every day. Given that so many writers seem to think that it takes far too long for agents to reply to submissions and queries, it was decidely interesting to me that non-client submissions got 0 (nada, nothing) votes and e-queries only got 1 (and I have a feeling from the comment that it was a bit tongue-in-cheek of a vote). So, what this says to me is that the writers out there who voted in this poll recognized the reality of triage as dictated by an agent balancing the needs of current clients against looking for potential new clients, but that the overall internet seems to reflect an opinion that agents are rude, self-aggrandizing slackers who don’t care about new writers. Hmmm….

In any case, I, too, chose to prioritze the two pending contracts and will hopefully have negotiations resolved shortly. But that took just over two hours so more than half my afternoon was gone by that point, which means a lot of the other things on that list had to get shuffled around into other days this week.

Another thing that I found interesting in comments was how many people suggested delegating one task or another, which leads to the realization that people assume there is someone to delegate such things to. Lots of agents don’t have a full-time assistants, and the interns at an agency tend to be shared, so sometimes one doesn’t have the option to delegate. This is true of many agents of my acquaintance as most agencies tend to be small-to-medium-sized companies. And the turnover in junior agents is also pretty high.

And my BFF mentioned to me that it was quite nice that so many people suggested I have lunch because it’s entirely possible if it hadn’t gotten the second highest amount of votes (right after contract #1) that I might have skipped it. I’m just terrible about lunch.

10 responses to “thoughts on yesterday’s poll

  1. In regards to the “internet opinion” of agents, please do realize that most of those are made by writers who are sending their baby out into a cold cruel world. It’s easy to get frustrated. And when there’s already a mob of angry people sometimes it’s easy to get sucked into that mentality. But thanks to the internet, and posts like this blogging about what goes on behind the scenes, I think people are slowly realizing how busy you guys are too!
    PS. Don’t forget lunch today! 😉

  2. Well, you’ve got a self-selected audience here. I’d expect there to be a higher percentage of writers who are educated and realistic about an agent’s workload than you’d find out in the intertubes at large. 🙂

  3. I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about it, but there are online virtual assistants to do things like book airline tickets and stuff.

  4. I’m thinking most of the people who regularly read agent blogs are aware of the fact that an agent doesn’t just spend their whole time reading queries, but that there’s much more behind it. I don’t think anyone here would accuse them of ‘not being interested in new writers’. There’s just a difference between work at hand, that’s getting you paid in the end and looking at prospective new client. Sometimes the former just get the priority over the latter.
    Personally I don’t know where I’d draw the line, but I’m thinking most of the writers here understand that sometimes there are just more important things to do than read queries.
    My sympathies for having a hectic Monday by the way. This is usually the day when the already existing workload really clashes with new things coming in :S

  5. I think most agent-seeking writers realize that there are good agents and not-so-good agents…and as with most other things, the not-so-good get a lot more press time!

  6. I voted for lunch first because I know how difficult it can be to get through anything on an empty stomach.
    After that, yes, I voted that you take care of your current clients. Common sense, if not reading agent blogs, tells me that your current clients should be your highest priority. Of course, I haven’t submitted any of my babies to agents yet anyway, nor do I have plans to do so anytime very soon, but maybe if I had, I’d feel more anxious about your unanswered queries. 😛

  7. Always make time for lunch! You can’t get anything done if you are passed out from hunger in the middle of the slush pile and the vultures start circling…

  8. i turn into a gremlin
    if i miss my feeding times.
    only bigger and scarier with
    curly hair.

  9. I admit to some surprise to discover that there aren’t a plethora of interns available such that one could snag one for oneself. I would have thought that English majors (for one possible candidate pool) would be lined up outside the door for the opportunity.
    Oh well, shows what I know! 🙂

  10. I think writers who’ve been informed of the agenting process know that your current clients are priority—period. And that finding new clients is something you do, but it doesn’t take precedence over your other commitments. :*)
    When we (writers) receive letters from agents requesting materials, we know that something we did stood out, which makes it so much sweeter. :*)

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