Say "yes!" of course, duh.
Clearly every aspiring author would be thrilled at the offer of representation; however, I think it's best to keep a level head and just focus on how you and that agent who made the offer can work well together for your writing career.
Hannah Moskowitz, author of BREAK, is awesome.......................
(and a DBag! - she loves it) and was kind enough to guest blog today on a really important topic.
So here it is, straight from someone who has received "the phone call" before - Hannah's take on.............
What You Should Do When Offered Representation
I’d been querying for a year when I received my first offer, and my immediate reaction was exactly the same as it was when I got an offer from my second agent, and exactly the same as it was when I got both the phone calls telling me I’d sold my books. I forgot everything I’d been working towards, everything I’d wanted, and everything I’d researched long enough for my brain to scream OH MY GOD I AM NOT READY.
Call me crazy all you want, but I’ve seen this exact same reaction in a dozen writers, even the ones who are cool as cucumbers while they’re querying. The second an offer comes in, they freak completely out. They don’t know what to do. They can’t write an email. They can’t talk about it without bursting into tears. This is all very stressful, no one understands them, they can’t POSSIBLY discuss it with anyone because they’re just far too harried. Writers get offered representation and all of a sudden decide that it’s the worst thing that ever happened to them.
I get it.
Getting an offer is scary in a lot of ways, especially if you get more than one. You have to weigh all your options and--scary!--reject someone. And this is not the time when you want to make a bad decision.
So, to hopefully keep you from freaking the fuck out (and driving everyone crazy), I have five guidelines for you.
- DON’T COMPLAIN. Look around and realize that the entire world of unagented writers would love to be in your shoes. Yeah, it’s stressful. But if you have to have a problem, this is a pretty excellent one to have.
- PLAY SECRETARY. The first thing you do when you get an offer is email the agent and schedule a phone call sometime in the next few days. Then, track down EVERYONE who has a partial or a full of the manuscript. Tell them you want to make a decision in a week. This gives everyone time to read. Schedule phone calls with any agent who’s willing. Keep track of all of them. Don’t schedule two at the same time. Don’t freak out.
- GET ON THE PHONE. Even if you’re planning to do most of your communication by email (which is the norm), there are things you can only figure out from a phone call. You want an agent who lets you talk, who answers your questions easily, and talks about your characters like they’re real people, just like you do.
- ASK QUESTIONS. Either during the phone call or in some emails, you need to ask the following questions/raise the following subjects with every agent who offers:--What revisions do you have in mind for the manuscript?
- If you have other manuscripts, give them brief pitches. What does the agent think of them?
- What houses do they have in mind for the manuscript? (Most agents won’t tell you specific editors until you’ve signed, but most will tell you houses.)
- How many clients do you have?
- How often would you expect us to be in communication? How do you like to communicate? (This is huge. Just trust me. You want the agent who says “Call anytime.” Even if you won’t ever actually do it.)
- How many editors do you sub to at once?
- How long do you let a submission “sit” with an editor before you nudge? (This is pretty big. I had an agent who nudged after two weeks, and one who let them sit indefinitely. Guess who sold my book faster?)
- What sales have you made recently? (Agents with a lot of sales are awesome, but keep in mind it probably means they have a lot of clients. Some writers like more attention than an agent with a ton of clients can give them. An agent without a lot of sales is okay, too, especially if they’re just getting started, but if you’re signing with a new agent, you want to make sure that they’re either a. with an established agency or b. loaded with previous experience in the publishing world.)
- GO WITH YOUR GUT. In the end, there’s going to be one agent you fall in love with. And that’s really important. A ton of agents will give you great answers to those questions, because there are a TON of great agents out there. But it’s not going to be about the numbers, in the end. It’s about which one really gets you and your book. There is NO replacement for an enthusiastic agent. You deserve someone who loves you.
So. Congratulations, follow my rules, and email me -- email@example.com -- or stop my blog -- http://hannahmosk.blogspot.com -- with any questions. Thanks for reading, and thank you Kathleen for having me!
Stick your thoughts/questions in the comments, and either Hannah or I will be happy to answer; however, I'll be following up on Monday with more thoughts/info from the agent's perspective.