So, if you’re just joining us, last week I announced my signing with my agent, posted how I researched, organized and sorted agents during the search process, and discussed what I learned from the first half of the query process. At the end of the last post, I promised to discuss more of what I learned since I am (apparently) becoming blogwinded.
Fast forward to the first offer. I got the first off on a Friday (all of my friends have gotten Friday calls to. We’re really curious why this is.)
I was out and about and missed her email. When I emailed her back she asked if she could call…in ten minutes. Honestly, I loved this as it cut down the panic time! The downside was that my computer was in the shop and had the list of “What to ask potential agents” on it. So I felt like I was flying blind. Agent 1 was amazingly nice about this and actually suggested questions I may have forgotten to ask because I didn’t have my list. She was friendly, professional, excited and kind. I loved her and would highly recommend her to anyone. I did wonder about some of the suggestions we discussed and she was kind enough to send me written notes. I spent a lot of time looking at these and thinking over how I could attack them. A few I knew I couldn’t do. I knew I could go back and discuss them with her, she’d been very open with me and that wasn’t a fear.
After a stressed out call with poor Gwen Hayes (because I’m a worrier, and worrying always comes first) I realized that (unlike last time) no matter what, I would have an agent at the end of this process. it was an amazing feeling.
So, when we got off the phone, I looked at my list of who had partials and fulls out. I had sent out queries to my top 20 agent’s on my Top Match list and had more requests than I expected. Looking at the list, I sent an email to each agent I knew I’d be super interested in (which since that was my top 20 was all of them. Yeah, not much for cutting the list down that way) saying that I’d been offered a contract and wanted to know if they would like the opportunity to read the full and potentially discuss my manuscript.
Everyone said yes.
Some passed for various reasons: Not as intrigued as they expected, Already had someone with a similar voice, Didn’t know what to do with it.
Some waited until the last minute to email me back because they were busy. I understand, but one thing I definitely did was include a deadline (making it very clear) and stick to it. This is a business and you don’t want to mess with the people you’re already working with.
Two asked to read it and then got back to me a week after the deadline asking to offer. I let them know it was no longer on the table. One apologized. One was annoyed.
But several wanted to offer for it. And so the phone calls began. . . Oh, and one really great get together.
I can say that speaking with Agent 1 was easy, straightforward, fun and informative. But, it was that for most of the people I spoke with. I felt very much like we were on the same page. That the things she mentioned were either a “doh!” moment or a “yeah, I can see how that would be better. Now I just have to figure out how the heck to do it.” There was a lot to the phone call that made my decision clear.
But it was still a difficult decision because I could see that there was no *wrong* decision. Everyone I talked to was great. It was amazingly encouraging to discuss my work and publishing with such an intelligent, driven yet nice group of women. It reinforced to me that I was being blessed by the whole process!
After making my decision and hoping she hadn’t realized she’d read and loved someone else’s book (I mentioned I worry, right?) I spoke with Agent 1 again, solidified revision thoughts, discussed the contract and we were a go! Then the second worst part happened (beyond the worrying) — letting people I really respected know I was passing on their generous offers. It was hard. It felt personal after talking with them and it so wasn’t. I think every author who has to send those emails gets a small taste of what agents who meet and do some preliminary work with writers, and then in the long run pass, feel. Yuck.
Next step: Send quick notes to the 7 people who still had the query only letting them know that I had accepted an offer. Make sure you put something that lets them know you’re pulling your submission in the subject line so you don’t waste their time. Also, 2 of those agents thanked me for stating the date they would have received my query so they could find it quickly — they said that was a time-saver.
Two of those agents responded with the fact that they were disappointed because they were just about to request. Seriously, I could not believe this process.
So, what did I learn beyond the process?
I learned that my blog was a big help. Everything I’m about to say was mentioned by at least 2 agents:
My free read and it’s ability to showcase my voice and writing in a different setting….also the mention of not being a one trick pony
My fantasy – some of the agents were aware that I was actively writing fantasy as well and also had a fair idea what it was about
Excerpt Monday – I was asked the reasons I started this and got to have a great discussion about the pre-business of being pre-published
Bio – It’s a little less formal than the one on my query letter and gives more of a feel of what a nerdy dork I am – they should be prepared, right?
So there it is. The process as seen by a crazed YA writer. Right after this happened (like the next day) I got in the car to move across the country. It didn’t go as smoothly as I’d hoped and diving into the revision notes was a slower process than normal for me. But, I’m there — in my revisions — now and excited about the whole darn thing.
I love hearing your stories! To everyone who has commented or emailed, keep them coming – the support has been amazing.
OTHER AGENT SEARCH POSTS: