Introducing the UMTS for Writers

I ordered a book last week.  If you haven’t heard, TK Richardson’s debut novel, Return the Heart, was released earlier this month.  I’ve been waiting for this moment for the better part of a year. 

My book was supposed to arrive last week Friday.  However, a quick click on my UPS confirmation link confirmed that the very important package I was tracking would not arrive on time. The reason?  A late train.  At exactly 5:07am on Thursday.  Thanks to a pokey engineer, my book languished in the UPS station all weekend instead of on my nightstand.

I was bummed that I couldn’t read it, but thankful I knew where it was and when to expect it.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could track our manuscripts so easily?

A simple link to the Universal Manuscript Tracking System would make our lives so much easier.  We wouldn’t have to worry and fret over where our manuscripts were at any given time.  We would know with the click of a key.

  • Monday, June 21, query departure via email at 7:42am.
  • Monday, June 21, query entered agent’s spam box at 7:42am.
  • Monday, June 21, e-query resent at 7:43am.

Already the stress is washing away.  Our query reached its destination.

  • Thursday, June 24, agent read query at 6:19pm.

Aha!  We got a read.  No more wondering if Dream Agent was out sick with H1N1.  He’s in the office and ready to roll!

  • Thursday, June 24, agent requested a full at 6:39pm.
  • Thursday, June 24, sealed envelop and put full in mail box at 6:40pm.
  • Saturday, June 26, full delivered to agent’s desk at 4:28pm.

By Friday, July 30th, we would be going a little schizo with the old, wait-and-see method.  Did our manuscript get lost in the mail?  Did Agent Awesome get in a car accident?  Is his mother giving birth to twins at this very moment?  What in the green blazes can possibly be more important than the Next Great American Novel?

Enter the Universal Manuscript Tracking System and we would know that Wonder Agent’s plane had been delayed and he was still hanging out out the Zimbabwe airport awaiting the next flight home.   

Oh blessed, mercy.  Our manuscript is still in the running.  With UMTS we wouldn’t fret about the fate of our manuscript–maybe the agent, but not our writing.

Assuming Uber Agent arrived back in the States, UMTS would alert us the second our manuscript left his desk and landed at the round table during the weekly editor’s meeting.  We could track when the marketing department sketched out the sales potential.  A confirmation email would pop up on our desktop when Agent America popped our return letter in the mail.

Estimated time of arrival: August 28th at 11:34am.

Still too stressful?  Upgrade to PUMTS, the premium service, and receive a summary tracking form delivered on June 21st the second your query leaves your email.

  • June 21: resend query due to spam catcher.
  • June 24: please send your full via snail mail.
  • July 30th: don’t fret, agent stuck in Zimbabwe.
  • August 28: Agent response due.  Estimated time of arrival: 11:34am.

With UMTS we would only have to stress over our morning coffee on August 28th.  Which is much preferable to getting hives for two months straight every time the phone rings or the mailman passes by in his little blue uniform. 

Wonder how much the Universal Instant Response Manuscript Tracking System would cost?

UIRMTS Confirmation Response

June 21st: 7:43am

Dear Author,

Please note that you will receive a contract for representation via snail mail at 11:34 am on August 28th.  While this sounds like a long wait, our system informs us that you will need to resend your query due to Greatest Agent Ever’s spam filter.  In addition, you will need to send a full via snail on June 24th.  After a difficult time with international travel, Agent Incredible will return to the States in early August.  He will immediately send your manuscript on the editorial rounds and respectfully submit an acceptance letter as soon as humanly possible.

Thanks for using the UIRMTS.  It has been our pleasure in furthering your literary career.

Happy Monday~ cat

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20 responses to “Introducing the UMTS for Writers

  1. It would even be nice if agents used an email auto reply. 🙂

  2. jmartinlibrary

    You are cracking me up. That idea is GENIUS. Can you “insure” a query as well? 😉

  3. Cat, this idea is THE BEST! I love your time frames, too. lol Had a great laugh with this one. And thanks for mentioning my book. 🙂

    • I finally got it at 5:30. Way past normal delivery time. Sometimes the UPS Dude won’t deliver if our dog is outside and drops our packages off at DH’s work instead. Apparently the dog was out and no one home to rescue Dude from her.

      So sad. Then ball games until 9:30. I can’t wait to dive in today.

  4. You’re a genius Cat! That would be fabulous.

  5. Cat, thanks for the *laugh*. Wow, if only it were that easy! Just to get a received response would pacify me, at least for a day or two. I think we should move toward this perfect solution…imagine it, feel it, and enjoy our fifteen seconds THEN jump back into the *struggle*… the best part of the book, the movie and the song. ((returning hugs)) jink

    • Jeanna,

      Those silent no’s are tough to take. Especially when you know things get lost or spammed. I appreciate the agents who post an, “If you don’t here from us in XYZ, please resubmit, as you may have been a victim of spam.” That at least gives you another shot.

  6. That would be awesome. I once sent a follow-up email to an agent that requested interest nine months before, and his assistant emailed me to say he’d been laid up in the hospital! I needed this tracking program then.

    • Yikes! See what I mean? Strange things do happen. Your experience also promotes the purpose of the follow-up. We should never be afraid to send off a quick letter asking for clarification on long response times.

  7. Pure genius, Cat! Whoever writes the software for this little baby will be an instant millionaire. Of course, it will also require that a microchip be imbedded into the agent… like a pacemaker… to keep track of reaction and response, because we all know not every agent will remember to key in the details UMTS requires.

  8. I love this! It would relieve so much anxiety! 🙂

  9. A genius idea Cat- and it would do so much for my mental health 🙂

  10. Cat, this is wonderful. You are one of the most creative bloggers I know.

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