So I’ve been with my agent Jonathan for over ten years now (the fall of 2005 to be semi-exact) and over the years I’ve become familiar with the variety of slow burns that come with trying to push a book through the publication process. One particular burn occurs between the period of submitting your brand new book to your agent for the first time and waiting for him to read it, process it, and get back to you with his thoughts (like if you’re brilliant or terrible and if he thinks he can sell this particular book). Even if your agent isn’t your first reader (and right now Jonathan is my first reader) this can be about as nerve wracking as it gets.
Jonathan usually takes somewhere between 2-6 weeks to get back to me (though once two months passed, I email chided him, and he admitted he’d forgotten about whatever book that was, though give the man a break he’s read something like eleven Oppegaard novels at this point and does get back to me very quickly via email, for which I am eternally grateful. I’m serious-my NYC agent returns my emails faster than almost every friend I have, though he gets hundreds a day). During this waiting period it would probably be wise for me to move on to the next project but usually I can only muster up a couple pages of short fiction, if that, and generally use the time to catch up on reading and generally fuck around (like this new rebooted website!). Also, I’ll admit, after this past book my mind has been cleared out and I only have a vague notion of where I should go next.
So during this restless time, which generally makes or breaks a year or more of very isolated work for me (and low grade shitty apartment living) I return again and again to the book in my mind and reassess it in a sharp Jonathan-type way, which I can still only guess at, and hope I brought the literary thunder loud enough and that he’ll see the book my way, which is inevitably with rose colored glasses.
And then I drink, for the publishing pit waits, and the digestion is slowwwwwwwwwwwwwww…