View Full Version : What happens?

04-17-2008, 12:10 AM
This is the question that finally lured me out of lurking...

When (notice I'm being optimistic here) an agent has already gone through the partial and full stage and arranges (they do arrange it and not just call, right? I'd faint) a phone call--what happens then?

Do they usually immediately offer representation before the end of the call? Do they do it afterwards? Should you ask if they are offering representation?

No one seems to talk about what happens then--and being a wild-eyed optimist, I want to be prepared. ;)

04-17-2008, 12:16 AM
Ha! You can't prepare! They all do it differently. Mwahaha.

Some will e-mail first, some will just call, some will ask for revisions, some will want a longish chat to see if you are sane and then will offer in a follow-up call. Etc. etc.

I was such a dope I had to ask whether my agent was offering representation because I couldn't quite believe it.

04-17-2008, 12:37 AM
Have to agree with lkp. With me I got a phone call asking me to cut 10 000 words from my MS.

When I did and sent it back, she then called to say she said she wanted to meet.

We went for dinner.

We talked about the book world, my book, random other stuff nothing to do with writing. Finally I just had to ask, "After I do these small edits you are asking . . . what happens then? Are you going to . . . you know . . . be my agent . . .?"

She smiled and said, "Yes I would like to represent you." Then she said, "I always like to see how long it takes an author to ask that question."

Oh those wacky agents . . .

04-17-2008, 12:46 AM
She smiled and said, "Yes I would like to represent you." Then she said, "I always like to see how long it takes an author to ask that question."

Oh those wacky agents . . .Oh, lord. I would have so screamed--not at her you understand.

Would it be all right to ask when talking to the agent the first time how they work the process and what happens now? Or would that be -- not ok? :roll:

Edit: I have three partials out -- no guarantee of representation, obviously -- but it has me seriously thinking about how all this might work.

04-17-2008, 12:53 AM
Don't get carried away, but sure, if you have some nagging questions, ask.

04-17-2008, 01:12 AM
Well, I don't want to look pushy (I am but I don't want to ADVERTISE it :D ) so I don't want to ask something I shouldn't. But it seems logical to me--Is it ok to ask "What now?" if they don't say?

cate townsend
04-17-2008, 01:49 AM
You probably won't be talking to them over the phone until one or more is seriously considering representation, and if it comes to that, there are never too many questions to ask.

But for now, you should just hang. This process can take a long time. Wait until you get some full requests, then prepare yourself a list of questions to ask an agent when they call and keep them handy. Also, check out the thread on agents blogs and make reading them a part of your daily media meal. Many of them have discussed in their posts the "process" of acquiring new clients.

Good luck with those partials!

04-17-2008, 01:54 AM
I already read agent blogs, although it's a good suggestion since anyone looking or an agent should in my opinion. The fact that it takes a long time doesn't keep me from thinking ahead. :)

And the agents who have my partials don't discuss the topic in their blogs which is why I'm asking.

04-17-2008, 02:07 AM
You'll also kind of know where you are in your "relationship" with an agent. I had already spoken to her a few times on the phone, done some serious MS revision, and she had invited me to dinner to chat. The meeting in person thing I kind of took as a good sign that things were moving forward. Up until then though, I was very "cool", just really listening to her advice, and asking any questions for clarification. I didn't ask anything in our initial conversations over the phone about what her role as an agent would be for me, it was only when she offered representation that we discussed that.

The agent/author relationship has existed for a while now, and definitely before the internet was full of agent blogs and writing forums. When the time comes, you will know what to do. Also remember that agents are used to dealing with people who know nothing about the industry (newbie authors), so they will lead the conversation.

Though, I mean, it doesn't hurt to come up with questions to ask an agent when they offer representation: What is the nature of our relationship? Can I call you on the phone, do you prefer emails? Can I call if I'm having writer's block, that is, will you be helping me as a writer writing, or are we strictly reserving our relationship to discussions about sales/rights etc?

That sort of thing.

04-17-2008, 03:34 AM

You mention a very important, often overlooked, item re a writer's relationship with his or her agent and the writer asking abut same in advance. That is, "will you be helping me as a write writing, or are we strictly reserving or relationship to discussions about sales/rights, etc?"

04-17-2008, 03:46 AM
This is something I also am thinking about with my proposal in the hands of a few agents. I just hope I don't sound stupid because I will not be able to hold back the excitement.

When an agent calls does he ask we else has your proposal or MS? He he makes you an offer and you have promised to talk to other agents before signing, are you expected to say who they are? Help on this would be great. Thanks

04-17-2008, 06:30 AM
Sometimes they ask, sometimes they don't. Honesty is your best policy, but I never volunteered information if not asked --- I figured they knew this business enough to ask me for what they needed. You can always tell an agent that you won't make any decision without getting back to them first.

Kasey Mackenzie
04-17-2008, 07:29 AM
Well, the first agent who offered on the manuscript I just finished querying called my cell while I was at work. Since I keep my phone in my purse on vibrate, she got my voicemail, and left a message saying that she was calling to discuss offering representation. (HOORAY!) I tried to calm my skittering heartbeat and emailed her to confirm that I would be available for her to call me back that evening. The second agent who offered (after I had let the other agents considering material know) also called while I was at work a few days later and got my voicemail. She didn't specify whether she was offering representation or not, just asked that I call her back. Which I did, and she DID offer representation, which was exciting, since she was ultimately the agent I signed with.

Carrie R.
04-17-2008, 11:25 PM
When I got the call, my agent called and left a message on my answering machine asking me to call him back. I was DYING because I know that doesn't always mean an offer. Then I checked my email and he'd written to tell me he'd called to offer representation so I didn't spend the night wondering :) That led to a few other offers and all of them were different. One emailed to say she wanted to represent and we set up a time to talk, another emailed to say she wanted to talk and we set up a time. She wanted to see if we got along before offering so she offered at the end of the call.

So I think it can be different for every agent and every situation. And I wouldn't worry about freaking out -- I'm sure agents LOVE to hear people get excited like that!

cate townsend
04-18-2008, 09:07 PM

I came across a blog post by Jessica Faust with Bookends that lists all the questions you'll want to ask an agent before signing with them. It's very helpful and comprehensive, and some of the comments add more good questions to consider. The post was dated April 24, 2007.