I'm having a lot of work done on my home, which in it's own way, is impacting on my office, because I work from home. But if I didn't work from home, I'd have to take time off and work from home as best I could, to supervise the work in my apartment.
I've been an agent for 20 years, and a lot has changed in the way we do business over those two decades. When I started in 1987, there were only a handful of people who could type well enough to finish a 300-page manuscript, so there were so many fewer query letters. Now, everyone with a computer thinks they can type a book. We used to get 2000 to 3000 query letters a year. Now, we get 30,000 (this is a true amout - half via emai and half via snail mail).
With the advent of the internet, I've seen the business tranformed from a paper business to an electronic one. Where once I had entire bookcases of finished manuscripts littering my office (I just cleaned out the last of them), now I just have discs.
A recent correspondence with an editor made me realize just how much things have changed.
I have just submitted an exciting two-novel series, which is well over 600 papges. I'm pretty sure I've got something really special and expect it to sell quickly (I'm actually surprised I have't sold it already, but it does take editors time to read, and then they have to have their colleagues read for approval). There's an editor I've done a lot of business with, whom I'm particularly fond of, at this one publishing company, so I assumed she'd want to see the books, but it turns out she's just not that fond of one of the books' elements, so she recommended another editor. I don't know her, but I know of her, so I called and left a message about the novels. She called back and said she wanted to see them, but that she didn't accept electronic submissions.
That gave me pause. The books were already being read at the other houses. I hadn't printed out mansucripts and made copies in years. When I did, I made it the author's responsibility, but my author was out of the country. It would be days before the copied masnucripts arrived on the editor's desk. I called her back and explained that I understood her position, but that I no longer submit manuscripts via snail mail. And I sent the book electronically to another editor at that house.
In this day and age, when you're selling at least 100 books a year, it is truly a waste of time, money and paper to do things the old-fashinoned way.
I can hear you now. What about agents who insist upon full manuscripts? I think most of us are moving toward the electonic age, but you have to be the judge of how badly you want that agent to read the ms. Weigh it like I did. For me, I'm established and there are many other editors who could read that book at that house.