Monday, November 30, 2009

Accepting an Agent's Offer?

So, you've written a great book. You've revised and polished it to perfection. You researched agents and submitted a great query letter to them, and at least one has made you an offer.

Congratulations!! This is a great place to be. The next question you should be asking yourself is 'should I accept?'

Many times, writers get so excited about this offer that they accept without giving it much thought. After all, any agent is better than no agent, right?

WRONG.

Agents have different working styles, and her style may not match with yours. Her vision for your book may not even be the same, so it's important to find out as much as possible so you can decide whether or not to sign on that dotted line.

First, let me take a moment to share an opinion. I have heard countless writers say that an agent works for the writer. Why? I have no idea because I completely disagree. Agents and writers are equal partners, each having a specific role. One is not more important than the other. One does not have more authority than the other. That kind of balance is what you should be looking for.

In other words, an agent is more than someone who negotiates deals. She will be your partner, your advocate, and you need to find out if the two of you will work well together. That's a hard thing to do, but there are some ways to prepare.

Having a list of questions for THE CALL will help. A lot. But there's more you can think about. What are your working styles? Do they mesh? Are your communication styles similar? Do you need an editorial agent? How early in your WIP do you want feedback? What other books do you plan to write? What do *you* Want from the partnership? What does the agent want? Do they match?

Agent-hunting is a bit like speed dating: you only have a short time to decide if you're willing to take things to the next level, so it's important to keep these things in mind before signing that contract. Otherwise you could be in for an ugly break up.

If it turns out you're not compatible, well, that will feel like a harsh blow. But keep this in mind: you got one agent's interest, so you can do it again. It's just a matter of finding the right match.

10 comments:

Kristi Faith said...

Great post and you raise good questions for a writer to think about before making such a leap.

wordwranglernc said...

Very good post. I like this quote especially, "But keep this in mind: you got one agent's interest, so you can do it again. It's just a matter of finding the right match."

peace,
Donna

Danyelle said...

Great post! I've really been enjoying learning more about this part of writing. :)

Paul Greci said...

Very sound advice. You want to find the best possible match. It's in both your best interest and the agent's best interest.

Solvang Sherrie said...

You are so levelheaded! I think when I'm talking to an agent, I'll just include you in the conference call so I can get it all right :)

lcastle said...

Thanks for the post. I've had one agent break-up in my writing career. Thankfully it was amicable, but making that decision was incredibly difficult. I'll echo the advice to try to get as much information going into the client-agent relationship as you can.

karenbschwartz said...

This is why I'd like some face time with agents as I go a courting. How can you tell if you're comfortable without meeting?

Mary Witzl said...

I have had one agent in mind for a long time. In fact, if we don't come to some sort of agreement pretty soon, I'm going to have to approach a different agent, but for many reasons, I know this agent is the right one. Quite apart from his track record, which I know to be good, the books he likes are books I like, everything he has written strikes a chord with me, and finally, he sounds kind. All I can do now is cross my fingers.

PJ Hoover said...

Very cool and encouraging post, Tabitha! Finding the right agent is so important!

Kelly H-Y said...

Fabulous advice!