Turns out an agent waiting for a publisher to respond to a submittal is much like me waiting for an agent to respond to my query. I'm not sure why I expected the two experiences to be so different. Perhaps it's my agent's unfailing enthusiasm and speedy responses. Perhaps it's because two of the publishers received a one-week exclusive, creating an implied deadline. Perhaps it's my insistence in reading success stories about publishers fighting over rights to a book after a crazy weekend of rushing through the manuscript to make a bid. At any rate, I was under the mistaken impression that my agent would send the manuscript off and everyone would report back within a week, one way or the other.
But alas, it's been over two weeks since I finished editing my manuscript and my agent sent it off to the publishers, and I have yet to hear a peep. In a moment of self-realization, I discovered that I'm not nearly as patient as I believed. During that first week, I must have checked my email two hundred times a day. And if my inbox remained dormant for more than thirty minutes, I'd sign off and sign back on, working under the delusion that all my emails were being stored and waiting to be delivered in one fell swoop. When that didn't work, I'd force myself to walk away for an hour or more, sure a bevy of emails would be waiting upon my return. But no.
Then it struck me. If my agent was presented with an offer, surely she'd call to share the wonderful news. Email was so impersonal. So I jumped every time the phone rang, my heart pounding away until I checked Caller ID and realized the caller was just another telemarketer. And when the phone didn't ring often enough, I'd pick up the receiver to hear the dial tone. You never know when the phone lines might go down. It could happen.
At the start of the second week, I still held out hope. The one week exclusive was officially up, which meant the publishers would be rushing to contact my agent. Oh, silly me. When my agent finally sent me an email, she was merely letting me know that she would be sending my manuscript to additional publishers. The first two had not responded yet.
Now that two full weeks have gone by, my frenzied anticipation has slowed to a slightly anxious restlessness. There will be no cut-throat auction, no early offer. But that's okay. If only one publisher is interested in my book, I'll be happy. I just have to survive the waiting game.