View Full Version : contacting agent with offer

03-04-2012, 10:35 PM
Thanks to other threads, I know *how* to do this. But my situation is a little strange, as I'm trying to figure out when to contact a couple of agents. I may be getting a publisher's offer next week. For various reasons, I'm probably going to need an agent.

After researching, I queried several top erotic romance/science fiction and fantasy agents in January about a m/m erotic romance space opera I just finished. The book is the first in a series of three, and the introduction to a larger planned story arc. I've been writing sf&f for 10 years, I have contest honors backing me, and I just sold an erotic fantasy short story to a respected anthology. So I'm not a complete newb.

The agents I contacted were all open to repping m/m stories. One hasn't answered yet, but the others sent rejection letters by mid-January.

Armed with the same query letter and short partial, I approached seven e-publishers open to un-agented writers. Two sent rejections right away. Two have fulls already. Three just asked for fulls. Given some other communication I've had over the last week, I'm probably close to an offer.

I will certainly be emailing the agent who hasn't responded yet. I have a rec to an agent I have not contacted, one of the biggest in the business. Should I contact both of them now, or wait until I have the offer? One of my other target agencies will not look at offers they didn't broker from the start, so they're out. But should I email the other rejecting agencies, either now, or with the offer? I'm afraid that 'no means no', in many cases. And if they didn't like the query and partial that the publishers liked, could these agencies possibly market my larger story arc effectively?

Brigid Barry
03-04-2012, 10:42 PM
Wait until you have an offer on the table. Then contact the agents that haven't already rejected you. I could be wrong (and I'll be corrected if I am) but once an agent rejects a project even if you have an offer they already passed.

You can query agents with new work, so you can use one agent for Book1, then go back to the agents that rejected you with Book2.

03-05-2012, 12:09 AM
Thanks, Kate.

03-05-2012, 12:42 AM
I don't have any advice, just wanted to say good luck!

03-05-2012, 02:25 AM
Yes. Don't contact agents who have already rejected the project. Contacting agents who haven't decided, and agents who haven't looked at the project at all, are both perfectly correct after receiving an offer from a publisher.

03-05-2012, 03:45 AM
There are very few reputable agents who work in both genres, so I only have a couple of names left to query. A few more are only open to recommendations, not unsolicited queries. I could probably get away with no agent for these first 3 books - but I don't want to send them to a publisher who wouldn't even consider the rest of the larger series. An agent could help me navigate that minefield.

03-05-2012, 07:34 AM
I got my first agent after I had an offer pending.

I definitely wouldn't contact those you haven't heard from until you actually have the offer. Do so once you have the offer in hand.

As to whether to contact those who already rejected your work, I'd contact them if you got any kind of "This isn't right for us, but feel free to submit future projects," reply. They might have said 'no' because they didn't think they could sell it, but if it's essentially already sold, they might view it (and you) differently.

If the replies were, "Thanks, but it's not right for us." then I wouldn't bother with them.

03-05-2012, 05:47 PM
That's what I thought. The only agency I'd really be tempted to contact again has already rejected two other sf&f projects of mine over the last three years. So at this point, no matter their stellar industry rep across both romance and sf&f, I get the feeling that they just don't get any sparks off my writing.

Which makes me sad, because they represent some of my favorite writers.

CAWriter, when you say you got your first agent thus, does that mean you are no longer with that agent? If so, how long did you work together?

I did have an agent from 1992 to 1999, but we parted ways amicably because 1) my writing wasn't good enough yet, and 2) I had other career commitments that took over my writing time. It's okay, because I recently discovered my old agent wants nothing to do with my new genre.

03-05-2012, 09:09 PM
I'm not with my first agent any longer. I was with the agency for 8-10 years. The agent I signed with had left the agency some time earlier and there was a period where there wasn't really anyone else there I felt compatible with. So I decided to look elsewhere.

03-06-2012, 06:16 AM
Thanks for the clarification.

James D. Macdonald
03-06-2012, 06:21 AM
Make a list of your top three dream agents.

Wait until you have an offer in hand. Then call them on the phone.

03-06-2012, 06:35 AM
My top three dream agents in romance have already rejected this project, or haven't responded yet. My dream agents in sf&f don't take my current genre (and have made that abundantly clear, in some recent Twitterfails.)

If the romance agents didn't bite on a query and partial that is getting full requests from publishers, will they prove worth their 15% later? I'd like an agent who at least likes my work, not someone I'd have to bribe to dance with me.