April 13th, 2004

books

manuscripts, manuscripts everywhere and not a drop to drink

Okay.... no one panic, but I'm feeling overwhelmed. Yesterday I went to the post office and picked up a client manuscript that is a few weeks overdue to the publisher. And they want me to read it before I send it on. At the point where this occurred, I was about 150pp or so into another manuscript that has already been delivered to its publisher, but the editor is notoriously slow in responding and the writer is freaking about needing feedback, so I really need to finish it sooner than yesterday. Plus -- also in the same mail run, a full manuscript from someone with a deal on the table. I'd read the first 15pp in an email, but long ago made a policy not to take anything on (even if there was an instant commission, just add water) without being familiar with the writer's work (based on a situation where I did the opposite and really ended up regretting it). Since this is a previously unpubbed author, I can't fall back on my experience with their backlist. They want an answer from me by Monday. And, then, there's this other manuscript from a client that I *really* want to read. There's no particular pressure on this one other than my own need to respond, and the author's theoretical interest in said response, which eventually will become a noticeable thing. I can't offer it to the publisher until the current contract is fulfilled, so naturally it's the one I'm the most intrigued to read for myself. I'm trying really hard to not even think about the backlogged requested submissions -- those dates received stickers I use to organize them are starting to burn a whole through me. They are getting *way* too old.

Now, if only I could take the whole week off and read.... Stupid paperwork. We hates it. I spent 3 hours last night on reading with the realization that the current workload (which as of an hour ago increased by an additional 13 pounds of mail - mostly queries probably) likely means all of this reading has to occur outside of the so-called regular work hours of 9am-5pm. Hmm.... maybe if I sleep less.... because I can't figure out how to read four manuscripts simultaneously....

This message brought to you by the need to let off a little steam. We now return you to the more recognizable publishing world where agents are inscrutable and mysterious. Heh.
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