Dear Ms. Rejecter,
What are some of the reasons your boss might sit on a manuscript (not an exclusive) she likes after six months or more instead of offering representation right away? Miss Snark recently blogged about having a potential client in a “holding pen” for a year. As the assistant, how are you instructed to manage that type of situation given that you are probably being asked to read any requested revisions and the potential client is probably contacting you or the agent for updates?
I don't particularly know what Miss Snark is referring to by a "holding pen," but in general, agents give responses as soon as they have made a decision. We're not interested in putting people in suspense unnecessarily - that's cruel and they're in suspense enough just waiting for the mail delivery. The "six months or more" wait generally refers to a wait for the manuscript to actually be read and decided upon, or just decided upon. Sometimes the agent says, "I need to read it again" and then some emergency with a client comes up and she gets distracted for a while. I can't think of a time when I have ever seen a boss actually decide to offer presentation and then not do so in the next three minutes, maybe 5 if she got a busy signal on the first call.