Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The "Back In ____ " Sign

So the publishing industry is officially on vacation.

I say officially because last week we were "not in the office" the way Victorian Londoners were "not at home" when they didn't want to entertain visitors. In other words, we generally shut off our phones and spent the week getting around to the stuff that piled up. My boss called up some editors and fellow agents she needed to catch up with (contacts make an agency), now that she had the excuse of the publishing houses being closed to not be busy with them. It was also a week for reading and responding to partials, and cleaning out of the office. This included a couple of embarassing finds ("Uh, I think this requested manuscript arrived in 2005. Yeah, it did. Oops. Should we do something about this?") as we cleaned out the office - my boss is working more from home this coming year, which hopefully will not affect my job because the mail will still come to the office in Manhattan and the phone will still ring there. Many agents have offices in name only in Manhattan, because it's insanely expensive to rent office space here, and the industry has reached a point where agents can really work from home if they own a cell phone and a wireless laptop. This is why a lot of offices offer forwarding services, to make it seem like your agent has an office downtown when really they work out of their home in Brooklyn most of the time.

But this week, we're really gone. I'm only going in once, to handle the week's mail. I'm as frustrated as you guys are - I've got partials sitting at a publishing house and an agency, and I know I won't hear back until the second or third week of January at best. I feel your pain.