I may have been taken The agency I had sent my book to is pretty much doing nothing, at least as far as I can tell. What I can't understand is, why would they operate this way? They've received no money from me, and in the contract we signed they get nothing unless they sell the book. So why bother with this disappearing act?

The only thing I can think of is that they must want to cram their database with as many works as they can get. That way, when publishers come looking for something they have plenty of product to display. So what if some of it never sells?

Makes sense to me, but it's completely outside the scope of what they had promised me. I was told that at some point they would "take a more aggressive approach" and start actively trying to find a publisher. They also said they'd be in contact at least once a month.

Instead, I have to e-mail and call them to see if any progress has been made. And in response, what I get is excuses for why my agent isn't in the office (ever) and e-mails that are form letters thinly disguised as personal notes. Here's an e-mail I received:
Dear Kevin,

Sorry I haven't been able to get you a proactive report on any marketing results. (You beat me to the punch by a few days :)

In the past month there have been a couple of "internal matches" from the Look For Now (LFN) database process. I am in the process of following up to discover if any of them will agree to review your work. I will be continuing to work for you in this manner over the next month if that's ok with you. It's slow but it is a good place for us to start our relationship.

Circle back to me in about a month if you have not heard from me before then. During the next 30 days, if we don't have anything more concrete from the LFN process, we will shift gears and get more aggressive.


Hil Mallory - Senior Agent
I was inspired by this e-mail. A couple of matches in the LFN! Hey, I wasn't even all that curious about what the LFN database really was if it meant that my book was going to get a little notice.

A month or so goes by, though, and I've heard nothing. So, being the diligent and patient writer that I am I sent a follow up e-mail. This is the response I received:

Dear Kevin,

Sometimes, with all the spam flying around, email can slip through the
cracks (on both sides) so thank you for the follow up.

Sorry I haven't been able to get you a proactive report on any marketing
results. (You beat me to the punch by a few days)

In the past month there have been a couple of "internal matches" that were relatively close to your work from the Look For Now (LFN) database process. I am in the process of following up to discover if any of them will agree to review your work. I will be continuing to work for you in this manner over the next month if that's ok with you. It's slow, but it is a good place for us to start and for you to get used to the slow pace of the industry, which is almost tougher than writing!

Circle back to me in about a month if you have not heard from me before
then. During the next 30 days, if we don't have anything more concrete from the LFN process, we will shift gears and get more aggressive and discuss our email or mailing programs.

Best Regards
Hil Mallory - Senior Agent


Sound familiar?

That was May 5th. I haven't heard anything yet. I'm giving it another few days and then I'll follow up again to see what response I get.

Now, it's entirely possible that I'm just not patient enough with the process. But let me justify myself a bit here. I'm perfectly willing to wait as long as it takes for them to get my book in front of as many publishers as possible. In the mean time, it's not like I'm sitting idle and just hoping and dreaming. I'm continuing to write. I have new books, new stories, new articles to work on. So I'm plenty busy. And I'm not expecting miracles. If the book sells, that's fantastic! If not, then I push the next one.

Here's where I have an issue...

There's been NO contact from these people. Unless I e-mail or call, I get nothing. I get no e-mails telling me the progress (or lack of progress). I get no indication of what's been done, who might be interested, what I should do to maybe help increase interest, etc. Since handing over the manuscript I've pretty much been on my own in this thing.

But I haven't quite given up hope. Hey, so they use form letters? At least she went through the trouble of modifying it slightly. And so they don't contact me? At least she writes SOMETHING back. So I'll give them more time. What do I really have to lose anyway?

In the meantime, I'm actively looking for a new agent who will do the things I think should be done... like talk to me about the book and the progress. I'm not asking for much. I'm not even asking that they guarantee me a sale. I'm just looking for someone I can work with on this thing, like a partnership. That's what it is, after all.


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Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
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