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MokoBunny
01-08-2013, 05:49 AM
I started querying a few months ago and sent out only about 20 letters so far. I got two requests, one for a partial and one for a full. The agent with the full offered me representation a week after reading my ms. The agent with the partial has yet to get back to me. I'm very happy about this but honestly I haven't even really begun sending out letters to my dream agents. This was sort of testing the waters. So I'm a bit unsure of what to do.

Should I go with this agent who has offered me representation or should I keep querying and hope that my dream agent will get back to me? Also if I say no to this agent, what if no one wants to rep me?

I'll be chatting with the agent on the phone this week and I have a lot of questions to ask. I suppose from there I'll see how I feel and trust my gut.

I'm sure these are very dumb thoughts but I appreciate getting advice from you guys.

Mr. Anonymous
01-08-2013, 06:08 AM
First of all, congratulations!

What I would do is this:

Immediately draw up a list of dream agents.

Email all of them. Subject line should read OFFER OF REPRESENTATION

First sentence of your email should inform the agents that you've received an offer of representation from another agent, but that you'd really love a chance to work with them, and would they like to read your manuscript?

Include a copy of your query letter below.

As for the agent from whom you have an offer. If I were you, I'd tell him/her that you'd like a week or two to think it over. That'll give you time to hear from your dream agents.

Again, congratulations.

kaitie
01-08-2013, 06:08 AM
First, tell the agent who offered rep that you would like a few days to contact other agents with the manuscript. This is standard, so they won't be offended. A week or two is usually fine for this.

Then, contact the agent with the partial and let her know that you received an offer and would like to know if they're interested in seeing more.

If there are any agents who are your dream agents you just haven't queried yet, then you should query them with sample pages and a subject line that says "Offer of Representation" in it (though make sure you include any word they say to use, like "query" or "submission" as well to get through spam filters). Before the query letter, just include a sentence or two saying that you received an offer, but thought they might want to consider the manuscript as well, so you're including the query and sample pages.

An offer of rep usually speeds things along. Some people might not get back to you, but those who do tend to be pretty quick. I had one agent who'd enthusiastically asked for the full, but never responded to my offer of rep emails, and an agent from a huge agency who usually only does snail mail who asked to read a full instead of the partial and did it in two days to get back to me within my deadline.

Also, make sure you speak to this agent and have all your questions answered in advance. Be sure that you're on the same page regarding the manuscript and your career and that this is someone you think you'd be comfortable working with before you accept.

Hope this helps! And congrats on the offer! That's great news. :) Go treat yourself.

kelliewallace
01-08-2013, 06:09 AM
From my experience, it's rare to be offered representation by one agent and offered rep by another in one sitting (that's just me, it might be different for others). If you have been offered rep, excellent! Do your research and as you said talk to the agent and ask them questions, like their sales history, contacts, clients etc. It is important you feel confident and content with their services. Since you haven't heard back from the other agent, give it a week, wait, and then make your decision from there. Good luck.

quicklime
01-08-2013, 06:18 AM
this is why you send to the agents you actually want first.

kaitie
01-08-2013, 06:29 AM
From my experience, it's rare to be offered representation by one agent and offered rep by another in one sitting (that's just me, it might be different for others). If you have been offered rep, excellent! Do your research and as you said talk to the agent and ask them questions, like their sales history, contacts, clients etc. It is important you feel confident and content with their services. Since you haven't heard back from the other agent, give it a week, wait, and then make your decision from there. Good luck.

I had two. One person offered, and I let the rest know, and one person with the full came back and offered as well. I ended up going with the first agent because we were on the same page in terms of revisions, but it happens. I just read a thread where someone on here had six offers (SIX!) to choose from.

I don't think it's that unusual. Sometimes you have one, but often a great book will be desirable to more than one person, so it's not unheard of. That's why you always let other agents know of competing offers. It gives them a chance to make a counter offer.

NicolaD
01-08-2013, 06:50 AM
Kaitie and Mr Anonymous have offered some great tips. Signing with an agent just because they have offered is not a great reason. Being on the same page re your career and writing, appreciating his/her communication style, an awesome sales track record, fantastic contacts, a highly reputable agency - they are great reasons to sign.

I turned down two other offers of rep before signing with my agent. They were great agents, just not the right fit for me.

This is an important decision, MokoBunny, don't hurry it or let fear come into play.

Good luck! :)

Fantasmac
01-08-2013, 06:53 AM
From my experience, it's rare to be offered representation by one agent and offered rep by another in one sitting (that's just me, it might be different for others).

I don't think this is that unusual. Personally, I ended up with three offers of rep and I've heard of similar experiences from others.


this is why you send to the agents you actually want first.

Yeah, it's one thing to "test out the waters" but twenty queries is a lot to not have even one agent that you would truly be over the moon to work with. If you don't particularly want to work with an agent, then why are you querying them?

kaitie
01-08-2013, 09:52 AM
Well, it's also important to note that typically we don't know enough about most agents to know who our "dream" agent would be, aside maybe from that guy who sold a book for two million last week or something like that.

Our dream agent is a person who understands the book, loves our writing, has a style that will work well with you, has a similar viewpoint in regards to what your career in the future will look like, and who sells books. And honestly, most of those characteristics are ones that we don't know enough to know about. We might have an agent we read regularly who we really like, and I think it's great to submit to that person, but your dream agent could turn out to be that person who didn't even have a website.

Chris P
01-08-2013, 10:28 AM
Congrats! I'm looking down the barrel of querying again, and I'm dreading it, so it's nice to hear success stories.

But I was struck by Kaitie's comment below, although we're getting off topic


Well, it's also important to note that typically we don't know enough about most agents to know who our "dream" agent would be, aside maybe from that guy who sold a book for two million last week or something like that.

Our dream agent is a person who understands the book, loves our writing, has a style that will work well with you, has a similar viewpoint in regards to what your career in the future will look like, and who sells books. And honestly, most of those characteristics are ones that we don't know enough to know about. We might have an agent we read regularly who we really like, and I think it's great to submit to that person, but your dream agent could turn out to be that person who didn't even have a website.

Aside of the agents who rep my favorite authors, I have no idea where to even start to know who understands my book, loves my writing or has a style that works with me. Seems to me I'd need to work with this agent before I will know these things. This is a huge reason my last querying experience was so disappointing. I trunked the novel because nobody would even request pages, now I'm wondering if I should learn more about targeting agents and try it again.

waylander
01-08-2013, 02:12 PM
Well, it's also important to note that typically we don't know enough about most agents to know who our "dream" agent would be, aside maybe from that guy who sold a book for two million last week or something like that.

Our dream agent is a person who understands the book, loves our writing, has a style that will work well with you, has a similar viewpoint in regards to what your career in the future will look like, and who sells books. And honestly, most of those characteristics are ones that we don't know enough to know about. We might have an agent we read regularly who we really like, and I think it's great to submit to that person, but your dream agent could turn out to be that person who didn't even have a website.

QFT

Don't get too hung up on 'dream agents'.
unless you've worked with them you don't know that they would be right for you.
It's like the cute guy you see every day in the lunch queue. Looks nice from a distance, but is in fact a toxic nutjob who has destroyed the lives of his last 3 girlfriends.

EMaree
01-08-2013, 02:32 PM
Agreeing wholeheartedly with everything that's been said so far. If the agent who offered representation 'gets' your book -- loves the plot, loves the writing, has solid credentials and seems like a nice person to work with -- don't get caught up worrying about dream agents.

Your dream agent is the one who loves your book.

shaldna
01-08-2013, 04:11 PM
this is why you send to the agents you actually want first.

This was just what I was going to say.

It's a difficult situation - I mean, if you pass up this agent in the hope that one of your dream agents will take you then you run the risk of ending up with no agent at all. On the other hand, if this agents wants you then others may.

It's a tough call, and a lesson learned I think.

Guinea
01-08-2013, 04:32 PM
And the other side of the coin is your dream agent could turn out to be your nightmare agent once you start working together. Personalities are a huge part of a successful author/agent relationship. I had an agent (whom I thought was my dream agent), hated her after a couple of months and got rid of her, then got another agent (who had been low on the list of agents and certainly not my dream agent), and she has turned out to be an absolute gem.

Corinne Duyvis
01-08-2013, 06:15 PM
It should be noted that I've heard from several agents that they really don't like it when writers query agents after they receive an offer of rep. Nudging agents who already have a query? Fine. Contacting new ones? Iffy. To the offering agent, it seems like they're just being used for leverage to get a quicker response. To the queried agent, it seems like they're being pressured into a quicker response, and they might sympathize with the offering agent and think twice about wanting to work with you.

Or, they might love your book and offer rep on the spot. Can't tell.

So, if you choose to go that route, I'd normally suggest mentioning in the new query something along the lines of "but as I only started querying very recently" or " but since I haven't been able to query more than a handful of agents"... but in your case it's been a couple of months and twenty agents, so I don't know if that would work.

This all just really shows that it's best not to 'test the waters' but to query your top agents first. I'm not trying to be mean--I've been where you are. It's just a difficult situation. Do what feels right, whether it's accepting the offer, turning down the offer, or querying the other agents, or some combination thereof, but I just want you to be aware of the potential consequences.

Also, echoing the above people who said that multiple offers of rep aren't uncommon. Hell, it's more common than not when I look at the authors I know.

leahzero
01-08-2013, 07:04 PM
Corinne makes some good points. I think phrasing and tact will go a long way to help. To counter Corinne's cautions: maybe they'll feel flattered that you COULD have just taken this offer, but instead you're giving them the opportunity to rep a hot book.

You really don't know how they'll react. It may irk some, and intrigue/flatter others. It's up to you to take that risk. Or to take the risk of signing with the first agent who offered you rep.

You don't need to tell the offering agent about this at all, except for asking for time to make your decision.

Susan Littlefield
01-08-2013, 07:44 PM
Congratulations.

Corrine's points are excellent.

If this is the agent you really don't want, say no thank you.

Never test the waters, so to speak. Always start with your first agents and work you way down.

Before you even query, check your agents out at Preditors and Editors (http://pred-ed.com/), Writers Beware (http://www.sfwa.org/2010/02/beware-of-fake-awards/), and also check in the bewares forum here.

kaitie
01-08-2013, 07:54 PM
I've heard others say that you should. I think it probably just depends on the person. I could see one person disliking it, but another wanting the chance. I know I've heard agents get annoyed when they make a request after you've accepted an offer, but what's the worst that could happen saying, "I'd love to work with you, but have an offer and wanted to give you a chance to consider the work?" At worst you'll get a rejection, right? No real harm done, and if it's done in a flattering and sincere way, I can't really see a fault. It's not like a person is going to be querying dozens in this situation. Just one or two big agents you'd really like to consider.

I do like the idea of adding the querying recently part, though. I think that would definitely make it sound better.

EMaree
01-08-2013, 08:18 PM
I've also heard some agents express a negative view of querying after rep offers, as Corinne mentioned. But I think my opinion runs close to Kaitie's -- might as well try it.

As much as we've said not to make a big deal over dream agents, the fact is you're probably already attached to your agents of choice. If you don't at least try querying them before deciding whether to accept this agent's offer, you'll always be wondering 'what if?'.

Guinea
01-08-2013, 10:17 PM
After an agent has offered rep, the only ones who should be told are the ones already queried but haven't responded yet. That's common courtesy. What I don't understand is why you didn't start subbing to those on top of the list first and then start working you way down.

P-Jay
01-08-2013, 10:20 PM
I agree with Kaitie.

Phrase it in a way that's flattering to them, and if they say no, they say no. No harm, no foul.

wampuscat
01-08-2013, 10:55 PM
I totally understand your fear of sending the first query to the top choices and testing the waters a bit, but I think Old Hack is really right about this. I have heard an author or two say they query agents from their A list and B list in each batch, knowing that they'd be happy to work with agents from either list. I probably would've sent queries to my top choices as soon as I got a request for a full, but that's neither here nor there. I do hope you come back with an update to let us know what happens!

Guinea
01-08-2013, 11:01 PM
Another thing is possibly ask the agent who has offered rep to give you three weeks (a little bulls**tting may be necessary) and then send out to your dreams and see if they come back to you within that time. You never know, you might get lucky and someone comes back asking for the full within that time. Once one of the dreams have asked for the full then you can go back to them and say that you have been offered rep (but without mentioning when). They will definitely read the full quickly if they know there are other interested parties.

Old Hack
01-08-2013, 11:23 PM
Don't bullshit agents.

Don't try to flatter them.

Just tell them the truth.

I see nothing wrong in letting other agents you're interested in working with know that you'd like to work with them, and giving them the chance to work with you.

EMaree
01-08-2013, 11:38 PM
I think three weeks might be pushing it a bit. One to two weeks is generally the standard and would be more acceptable.

Also, I really wouldn't try to bullshit an agent who's offering rep. Not even a small white lie. This is a business relationship, you should be honest.

Just my personal thoughts though, of course.

EDIT: Crossposted with Old Hack.

Corinne Duyvis
01-09-2013, 12:25 AM
I agree. Don't bullshit anyone. You want to work with an agent for the long haul. You want to trust them, and you want them to trust you. Do you really want to start off by lying to them? I'd be consumed by guilt with every e-mail I sent to them.

Three weeks is definitely long. When I got my first offer of rep, I asked for two weeks (since I knew one of the agents holding a partial was super backed up at the time due to pregnancy). I regretted that approximately three days later. The time after an agent offer is super stressful.

MokoBunny
01-09-2013, 12:32 AM
this is why you send to the agents you actually want first.

I didn't submit to my top agents right away because I've made the mistake of doing that before when I wasn't ready. I ended up burning through my top agents before realizing I really needed to go back and fix a few things. That's why I'm so surprised I got an offer of rep so fast with this book. I was expecting requests and feedback but polite no thank yous. After my first request I sent a few queries to some of my top agents as well and more after the second. I didn't completely hold off on querying them I just haven't finished querying all of them. My list of remaining top agents isn't long either.

I appreciate the advice all of you have given me and I will definitely take it all into consideration. If anything develops I'll gladly update.

Corinne Duyvis
01-09-2013, 02:14 AM
That's why you have CPs and critique forums like the ones on Absolute Write, though--to tell you when your query is ready. Using agents as guinea pigs is risky.

Besides, it'll only tell you whether your query works for *that agent.* In my first week of querying the book in my signature, I got four requests out of five. I'd already been previously agented, had good writing credits, and a high-concept book, so with an eighty percent request rate, I felt confident in sending out more queries--surely an offer would be coming in very soon?

Instead, that request rate plummeted. Five months and many deeply so-so rejections later, I was ready to shelve the book (and possibly move to Alaska). Then I got an offer from an editor, then two agent offers. The agent whose offer I accepted turned out to be the very first agent I'd queried.

What I mean is, requests from 'guinea pig agents' only go so far. They're not representative of what all agents think, and they're not representative of what people will think of your partials and fulls. Your best shot is always to have your query critiqued by your peers, then to contact the agents you want. You do not want to be in a position where you have to turn down an offer because you end up not really wanting that agent, and no one else will bite. (Again: I've been there. It's no fun.)

That's more advice for whoever is in a similar situation and stumbles on this thread, though. :)

In your case, all that's left is to wish you good luck. I hope you'll end up with an agent you adore and who can sell your book like a mofo. Keep us posted! :)

Jamiekswriter
01-09-2013, 02:32 AM
During the phone call with the offering agent, ask some very important questions like:

1. Where are you considering sending my book and why?
You're looking to see if they're going to be putting you into the big 6 and if they know the editor's preferences.
2. (Try to find this out before the phone call, but if you don't know, ask) What have you sold last year?
3. What kind of advance can I expect / have you seen in the past year based on my genre?
4. Can I speak to some of your clients?
5. What type of communication do you prefer? Will you be forwarding me rejections or just summing up at the end of the month/quarter/another time frame who has my novel and the status?

Basically you're looking to see if you and the agent has similar goals for your book and how you gel together.

Congratulations and good luck!

kaitie
01-09-2013, 06:34 AM
Yeah, never ever lie to an agent. The agent knows why you are asking for time and they don't mind. They expect you to follow up with other agents. Mine even encouraged me to do it before I had a chance to ask for time. It really isn't a big deal, and we certainly should never lie to an agent you're hoping to build a relationship with.