Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I am not a coward . . .

As is probably obvious, I resist the urge to criticize the CBA. (publishers, editors, agents) The fact is the CBA is people. People take criticism personally even when it's the institution not the individual being criticized. I feel it is not practical to destroy possible future relationships by publicly calling someone out. Don't misunderstand, I'm not saying those who do are wrong. That's a personal decision and about half the time, they're right.

With that said, I have had a few instances that have left me scratching my head. I have long avoided writing about them here, because I don't want it to be obvious who I'm talking about. I've said all that to say that I'm gonna start posting these instances in such a way that doesn't sound like I'm beating up on someone or being a whiny baby. Let me know if I don't succeed.

Instance #1 (gender neutral "he" used throughout)

An agent who asked for a full and who has publicly boasted how he always responds within 3 months to a full, encourages people to send follow up emails after so many months (6 if memory serves) without worrying about upsetting him. Well after 10 months I sent a follow up email. I was grateful to be considered and took him at his word. In fact, I waited longer than he said. My email was simple. I just stated the dates of submission, request for full, submission of full, time elapsed, and my appreciation for their time. The response was a little snarky: I'll paraphrase -- if you don't want to be considered any longer, just say so. Because of his continuing boastful dedication to responding timely and being considerate of us unpub's time and dedication, I expected him to say something like: Oh, sorry about that, I do try to respond but some slip through the cracks . . . blah blah blah, I pass or blah, blah, blah, give me some time look at it . . .

Well, it's been 2 years --- No response. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind that the agent has apparently passed. It does strike me that this person brags that he doesn't do this.

What do you think? Should I post things like this or keep my keyboard shut?


Glynn said...

The disappointment must be profound, not only in asking for a full and the hope that builds but then vanishing. I think our expectations for Christians is always higher -- and we're inevitably disappointed.

I'd let it go and focus on finding another agent.

Dayle James Arceneaux said...

Hi, Glynn

Maybe a little misunderstanding here. I let this go a long time ago. I was never really offended or hurt by this. In fact, I still very much like and respect this agent and if he/she contacted me right now and offered rep, I'd jump on it.

I want to share these things because it's part of the trying to get published experience, but also because I've been accused of being a CBA apologist. And, while I've had problems with the CBA, I'd rather not dwell on them and remain forward thinking and above any fray that may occur.

Kay Day said...

It's truth. And it's helpful for anyone else who may experience the same thing, I think.
And you really are vague enough that it doesn't come across as criticism. Simply as you informing us of a situation that occurred.
I find it fascinating, actually. I like to know what the real story is for people trying to get published, as I haven't even finished a novel yet.

Nicole said...

Personal decision, as you said Dayle. However, the C in CBA is the significant thing. Sometimes I wonder about the business side of this process. The shortages of time and overloads of product usually hold back "regular" businesses from being successful. Acknowledging that reading separates the publishing business from others in the amount of time involved, I still think the excuses used for bad behavior of extreme time lapses when requesting/processing material can be shameful and inexcusable.