Great Agent Hunt – Getting to Yes (part 2)

23 Nov

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.



9 Responses to “Great Agent Hunt – Getting to Yes (part 2)”

  1. RFLong November 23, 2009 at 3:31 pm #

    Great post, Bria. Really gives a glimpse into the process.

    Things which I found in common with you in particular –

    the stress of making a decision at all
    realising that there is no “wrong” decision
    turning down people you really respect

    These three things were so difficult for me. I don’t think I slept all weekend. And yes, I also got my offers coming up to the weekend – one on Thursday and one on Friday!


  2. briaq November 23, 2009 at 3:40 pm #

    Thanks R.

    Yeah, the stress made me sick all weekend. Friday night I tossed and turned wondering about the suggestions I wasn’t sure about. A little voice kept saying “check your email…check your email” but I thought “NO ONE is going to email you in the middle of the night to make an offer.”

    OK, always listen to the little voice. The offer I eventually accepted came in the middle of that night.

    But, yeah. The stress *shivers* I tried to explain to a friend who hasn’t gone thru it yet how not-fun it is. They didn’t seem to believe me 🙂

  3. Cynthia Justlin November 23, 2009 at 7:37 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your journey, Bria. It’s nice to get a little bit of a ‘behind the scenes’ of what someone went through. Now I’ll know what to expect when (if) I ever get to that point!

    As to your comments about agents and your blog–did you include your blog link with your queries or did the agents search you out? Just curious how that works. I never know if I should include my website or not.


  4. briaq November 23, 2009 at 8:28 pm #

    *WHEN* Cynthia! *WHEN*

    I absolutely included my link. BUT, it didn’t matter. During that time I saw a lot of hits off my blog for things like “bria quinlan” “bria quinlan writer” “bria quinlan secret girlfriend” — If they want to know, they’re smart. They’ll find you 🙂 Plus, they can always ignore it.

    My signature line had my name, phone number and blog address.

    The biggest key to this (for me) is keeping it professional. it’s one of the things I find most interesting about a lot of “professional” blogs in the writing industry (both writers and agents) how *not* professional they are.

    I crossed two agents off my list from reading their blog. I didn’t want to be the writer who gets crossed off an agent’s list for that reason.

    OH, AND GWEN? I’d so invest in that 🙂

  5. Vicky November 23, 2009 at 8:50 pm #

    Congratulations on landing an agent! I found your blog via Elyssa’s RT on Twitter. 🙂

    I also got more than one offer of representation. It’s a great problem to have, but it’s also unnerving to say the least. And yes, writing those rejections is no fun at all. If you’re interested, I blogged about how I made my decision and why I chose my agent.

    Best of luck to you!

  6. Kim Lionetti November 23, 2009 at 9:09 pm #

    I like the way this story ends. 🙂

  7. briaq November 23, 2009 at 9:18 pm #

    That’s a great idea for a blog Vicky. I bookmarked it b/c I was getting sucked in!

    Thanks Kim! Me too! (Have I mentioned I’m excited *grin*)

  8. mamadivine November 24, 2009 at 2:37 pm #

    Great post, Bria. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  9. tamaradwalsh September 4, 2012 at 4:39 pm #

    I know I’m coming to this really late in the game, but I just found your website about a week ago and I had a quick question. I don’t have a blog, for the specific reason that I wanted to concentrate on writing my book, which I’m now getting ready to query. The plan has always been to start a blog after I found an agent. In your opinion, will not blogging affect my chances of finding one?

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