*Titled as such even though I prefer tea because saying “if we were having tea” sounds so high brow for a Midwestern American. Though it’s been so long since I’ve done this, I suppose it should say, “if we were having tea/coffee/cocoa over Zoom” *laughs* *weeps*
Hello! I haven’t done this in a while. Not since January 2020, apparently. I also haven’t really been on this blog much either. So I thought, why not take a few minutes during this rare lull at work and just…give you a little update?
If we were having coffee…I’d take a moment to complain about this new WordPress editing/posting/whatever-this-is set-up. Why can’t I go back to Classic Editor? What’s with all this fancy new block stuff? Clearly I’ve been away for too long. Oops. I’m sorry. (But seriously though, what gives?! *is old*)
If we were having coffee…we would no doubt cover the pandemic topics and get them out of the way. Yes, I’m vaccinated, and I’m getting a booster on Sunday (yay!). Yes, I’m still wearing masks indoors. Yes, we had to reschedule our honeymoon for a third time and gosh darn it we’re going on it in spring 2022 and LIVING IT UP. YOLO. And our cat Rossetti’s loving all this 24/7-with-humans time she’s getting. Honestly the biggest hit for me––for us, really––was not being able to sing in choir in 2020. It’s been great to be back with them since August 2021, making music again safely. (For any other singers out there, this is the mask we wear for rehearsals, services, and concerts. Highly recommend.)
If we were having coffee…I’d tell you about how wild this year has been, how unpredictable and odd and just…weird, in publishing! So I’ll do my best to explain it in non-pub-lingo and in as much of a nutshell as possible. 2020 was a lot, to say the least, but that exhaustion didn’t let up once the calendar changed. January 2021 hit, and agent inboxes flooded. FLOODED. So many writers with projects finished during 2020, including our own clients’ projects. And it didn’t let up. Now on the other side of the business, editors were also getting bombarded more than usual with these submissions from agents, on top of the usual workload editors are required to do. And then toss in printing and shipping and the bottleneck of supply chains across multiple industries, publicity and marketing teams pivoting monthly (weekly!) to changed dates and moved productions––it boggles the mind. Mix all of that overflowing digital paper, schedules, chains, and personal lives in a pot, and it’s boiling over.
To say everyone was swamped this year is an extreme understatement. I’ve never had so many client projects out on submission at once, nor for so long––I’ve had to cross-reference the tabs of my spreadsheet to make sure I’m not overburdening some poor soul with more than one of my submissions (MAJOR APOLOGIES TO THE EXCEPTIONS *sobs, hugs*). I’ve also never been so behind* in my own requests folder. I took pride in reading fulls in a month, but as my client list grew and as the queries in my inbox became stronger (seriously, you guys, the querying writers are really hitting the mark lately and I have to be even more discerning! As a client once said to me, it’s a “champagne problem” for sure!), I’ve started averaging 3-4 months in my response time for request manuscripts. I don’t like taking so long, but my goodness. It’s been nuts. 2021 has been a true exercise of patience, grace, and empathy…and extreme gratitude for the success stories, too, of course! Phew!
[*”so behind” LOL, look, I hear stories of agents getting back after a year (or two (or three!)), and it’s definitely not that. More like…six months max, but I still feel ashamed of it.]
I wish I had the answers. I wish I knew when things would let up. But I feel exhausted too. And if I’m feeling it at an agency, I know my colleagues in publishing houses are feeling it 10x more.
If we were having coffee…I’d tell you about all the TV shows and movies I’ve seen, rather than the books I’ve read XD Partly because I’ve been watching a lot on so many streaming platforms, partly because I don’t want to talk about how ashamed I feel (there it is again, shame, the guilt and sadness!) that I haven’t read as much for fun as I’d like! I’m showing up to my two book clubs saying things like “Sorry, didn’t finish, so I’ll just stay muted and listen!” or “I read 40 pages but wasn’t into it,” or “WOW OMG YOU GUYS I READ IT!” For reference, the post on here about books I read in the first half of 2021 is basically all I’ve read…I’ve finished maybe two books since that post, so yeah, for fun reading is very slow-going. But streaming!! Watching a lot over there! Vikings, Peaky Blinders, Brooklyn 99, Marvelous Mrs Maisel, Dr Oakley: Yukon Vet, all the Marvel stuff (omgggg WandaVision!), all the latest GBBO duh, Watchmen, The Great, Master Chef: Junior, All Creatures Great & Small, Westworld, rewatching Band of Brothers, New Girl, Friends, and Gilmore Girls too…I’m probably forgetting some but those are the big ones. What have you been reading and watching?
All that ^ said, I’ve just started reading Empire of Gold (finally brave enough to close out the trilogy), I feel hopeful for and confident in my clients and their hard work and perseverance, and I remain optimistic for a bright future ahead. This is a massive, massive pothole in the road, yes. But I’m immensely grateful and thankful for my job and doing what I love. I want nothing but the best for you and yours, too. May the rest of this year and the holiday season be full of light and wonder, and may 2022 be full of blessings!