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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I Think My Lack of Patience Is Making Me See Dead People

Is it just me or are things in the publishing world actually starting to move even slower? I didn’t think it was possible. When I first landed my agent, I had come from the world of magazine publishing. Magazines as you know have a long lead time—they’re working on spring issues before the snow even starts falling. So you’d think I’d be accustomed to waiting; however, when my methodology of dealing with impatience is to have staring contests with my phone to see who will ring/blink first (I haven't won yet), I’m not helping things.



And at this point, I think the publishing industry appears to be doing business at a crawl so infinitesimal that I really think there’s an old man with a white beard transcribing my manuscripts with a feather pen somewhere. Because that’s the only thing that makes sense. That, and the fact that most publishers laid off so many employees that there is now one person doing the job of 12.

But that said, I still have four years of dealing with this snails pace. I remember having to send agents query letters in the postage mail, and then having to wait for a mailed self-addressed envelope to get a reply. It boggled my mind that anyone would do business this way when email would cut that transaction time down to about five seconds. But whatever, I dealt with it. (By that, I mean I considered stalking the postman for every SASE in his bag.)

I also had to learn how to physically Fed Ex hard copies of my manuscripts to my editor, and then receive a physical hard copy in return with little red squiggle marks on it that I had decipher with a decoder ring (because what recent college grad is taught copy-editor shorthand anymore? I went to J-school, we used “track changes.”).

However, I accepted these things. Some industries take a little longer to adapt, but I figured once they discovered these newfangled things called computers, the rate of business would pick up. Only this hasn’t happened—mostly because you need bodies to work the computers, and publishing houses have fewer of those these days.

So now an industry that I thought was maddeningly sluggish four years ago, is now moving at the velocity of a time-elapsed photo composite. It takes forever to get manuscripts read, for emails to be returned, for edits to come in, for offers to be made, for publicity to be generated. Honestly, I think coffee even brews slower at these houses—the laws of physics have ceased to exist there.



And for someone who will admittedly tell you that patience has never, ever, been one of her virtues, I’m starting to wonder whether I’m secretly part of some Dharma initiative lab experiment: “Let’s see how long we can make an absurdly impatient girl wait before she actually loses her mind and starts seeing dead people or smoke monsters.” Honestly, one more week, and I think I’ll be playing chess with Mr. Echo.


POP CULTURE RANT: Adam Lambert

OMG, he’s gay! I had no idea! (I’m kidding.) But apparently it’s cover news for Rolling Stone Magazine. Is it me, or is finding out a glam rocker is gay like finding out a fashion designer is gay? Really, are there people who were surprised? Maybe it’s the world I live in, but I really don’t see this as news anymore. However, I’m psyched he’s now able to just be himself. That’s gotta take a load off his shoulders. Though I doubt any more girls will be stripping naked at his appearances. Still, can’t wait for his album!

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