Saturday, March 24, 2007

Days in the Life

I've been wanting to write the "Day in the Life" post for a while, but the days have been too busy, which is why I'm writing this on the weekend.

Either I am having a particularly busy season, or I've managed to expand my workload too much.

Right now, I have 14 books that I am juggling offers on. I think this is a record. I usually sell one or two books a week, so this is almost overwhelming. I actually had one editor email me that she wanted to make me an offer on Wednesday, and I told her I wouldn't be able to talk to her until Friday.

Part of the reason why I'm so busy is that I have had to schedule author/editor meetings, which means I am out of the office for non-lunch hours. I had three such meetings late this week. and although blackberrys and cell phone have made it so that we are supposed to be on call every minute of every day, they don't work on the New York City subway system, which is how I get downtown.

When I say I'm juggling 14 book offers, that means that almost every one of them needs to be severely negotiated, or editorially restructured before we go to contract, so there is a lot of back and forth on every book. I have been waiting since early January for an increase in the advance on two of the books (the company was purchased and I can get more money from the new company if I let the editor make my case, so we wait).

What this means for me is that I feel like I'm doing the same thing every week and hardly getting ahead.

I try to only have 20 books on submission at a time. As soon as one sells, I'll move another forward. Right now, I think I have 30, because I was expecting to close on these 14 books quicker. This means that I have about 5 books in the line and no time to get them out.

And there just seems like there is no time to read, although I did read and line edit two client's proposals while going back and forth. And I've probably sifted through another 100 query letters this week.

What I wanted to do with the Day in the Life post is actually give you a real day of my work. I am hoping to do that next week, but it's a short week because I am heading out to a convention at the end of the week.


Anonymous said...

Author/editor meetings? I'm curious -- how common are those? I was under the impression that most author/agent/editor communication is long distance and/or electronic these days.

BernardL said...

After reading your stark truths about what happens between when you take on a book; and when it actually gets published, I'm beginning to fear acceptance more than rejection. Boy, nothing like the words severely negotiated or editorially restructured to get a writer's heart beating faster. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. Gives an idea of how busy you are. An author can imagine only how busy he is with his one book. I can't imagine having 30 books out to multiple publishers simultaneously.
How you get any reading done at all is remarkable.

Anonymous said...

You know, as a writer who works hard to shop his own words, on a smaller scale, I can relate to at least two things you mentioned and that's why I enjoy this blog so much.

One or two books a week is a nice number. I usually try to sell about ten things a year to viable, traditional publishers with good sales and that "ain't" easy. Now I feel like a slacker.

I'm looking forward to the "day in the life".

Tyhitia Green said...

Wow. 100 query letters. How do you determine which ones you read and which ones you let your intern read? When writers send their queries to you, is it more likely that you will read them instead of your intern?

wannabe_nitwit said...

That sounds so hectic. It also makes me cringe in regards to getting an agent to read anything that might come out of my lowly computer, considering how incredibly busy you are. Wishing you all the best and hope things calm down a little for you soon - and that you make great sales on all of those books.