Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Record-Setting Day

I accomplished a literary feat today that I would never have believed possible; not even in my wildest, most fevered dreams. For all I know, I may well have set some sort of world record, although it might be a record no one would want to break anyway, like the largest stock market drop ever in one day or being declared officially the stupidest person in the world.

Today, I received my first agent rejection on my new manuscript. That in itself isn't all that earth-shattering; I've gotten plenty of rejection and have every confidence I'll be getting plenty more. What makes this particular rejection so impressive, so noteworthy, so potentially record-setting, is the speed at which it occurred.

The literary agency I queried regarding my new manuscript accepts electronic queries, as do most agencies now. On their website, this agency spelled out their requirements for unsolicited queries: A one-page synopsis and the first chapter of the manuscript, submitted as separate Word attachments to the query email.

I carefully crafted what I hope is an engaging but professional query, including a short description of the manuscript, a paragraph about my background and how it applies to the novel, and a description of some of my writing credits. To it I attached the two requested documents, and pressed "Send" at 5:24 this afternoon.

I figured it would be a while before I heard anything back from the agent - most of the time it takes anywhere between a couple of weeks and a few months to hear anything; sometimes you never do. Imagine my surprise, then, when I checked my email a couple of hours later, and there was a response from this agent!

But that's not the best part. Out of curiosity I looked at the time it entered my inbox and discovered that I received my return email at 5:44, an incredible twenty minutes after sending it out!

This is the kind of clout I wield in the literary world, folks. When I speak, people jump. I have no doubt that this agent personally ran to his computer when he saw he had received an email from me, opened it with bated breath, and then dropped everything to pound out a reply. "Sorry, Mr. Eisler and Mr. Coben, you're going to have to continue this conversation without me. I just received an email from Al Leverone and it requires my immediate and complete attention!"

The agent cleverly disguised his interest with a form letter rejection, but I'm sure in the twenty minutes my query resided in his inbox, he had plenty of time to, you know, actually read the query, along with the synopsis and the requested first chapter. Of course he did.

I'm just getting started on my agent search for this manuscript - this was just the fourth query I have sent out - but it's nice to know I got that "quickest rejection" thing out of the way. At least I hope I did. My previous quickest rejection was overnight and that was pretty darned impressive in its' own right.

I can't believe there is an agent anywhere quick enough on the draw to top this, but if there is, I hope he or she demonstrates it on someone else next time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, there was something bogus about that rejection. Damn, I don't know which is worse, waiting three months for a rejection, or getting zapped at high speed.

Publishers and agents are starting to piss me off. I might just have to publish my own books.