I just got back from a terrific writer’s conference in warm, sunny Florida; Sleuthfest, hosted by the Mystery Writer’s Association, was a beautifully run event, attended by authors who obviously thrive in a genuine community of writers. I listened to Ace Atkins deliver a luncheon speech on persistence, and Laura Lippman deliver a frank, provocative keynote challenging the present—and artificial–schism between self-publishing and traditional publishing. I served on some panels, fielded solid pitches, invited a score of submissions, and returned not only to the frozen North, but a towering to-read pile that feels equally chilling. I am in the midst of editing several proposals, getting ready to send out several more, negotiating contracts, and attempting to keep tabs my on inbox. I say this not to elicit any sympathy, since I know everyone else in this business is just as busy, but as a preamble to a general and sincere apology for my slowness in responding. I know how excruciating it is to wait for a response. Remember, agents also spend time cooling our heels, drumming our fingers, and (unsuccessfully) cultivating patience. So know that my crampons are on, my ice-axe sharp, and I am steadily scaling the Everest of my inbox. It’s not been all slog, however. Earlier this week my stupendous client Valerie Trueblood was shortlisted for the Pen/Faulkner Award (Hurray!), and yesterday another prodigiously gifted client, Qais Akbar Omar, placed an op-ed in the New York Times. Not to belabor the climbing metaphor, but both of these were shots of pure 02.
What keeps you going when you feel utterly buried by work?