Friday, July 02, 2010

How to Get an Agent: Part Four

Today is the last installment in my series on how to get published. You can start from the beginning here.

Now the responses are rolling in. You may have one agent interested or be juggling multiple offers. Time for phone calls!

An agent may be calling to offer you representation or just to chat and get to know each other better. You’re both looking to see if you’re a good fit. Remember, you have a chance here to ask questions, too. But you shouldn’t be wasting time asking who the agent’s other clients are or anything that you could easily find online. Take the opportunity to ask things that can’t be found with a Google search. What approach he or she would like to take with your book, for example. And try to gauge the agent’s style (hand holding, hands off, etc.) and see if it’s a good match for you.

If the agent offers, you don’t have to say yes right off the bat. You can ask for a few days to think about it. They kind of expect that. You should also notify any other agents who have your full manuscript, to give them a chance to toss their hat in the ring if they’re interested.

Once you make your decision, you accept the offer of representation and let the other agents know.

Congratulations. You are off the query-go-round. From this point on everything is sunshine and rainbows!!!!!

Kidding. Next up is possibly editing/revising for your agent. Then comes the submission coaster, which is way worse on the nausea scale than the query-go-round. And there are still no guarantees. Even though your book has an agent now, it still might not sell. So, while you’re on submission WRITE YOUR NEXT BOOK. Seriously. It’ll help keep you sane during this time and might come in handy if a publisher wants to buy more than one book.

I hope this series has been helpful to all aspiring authors out there. And now you know why I couldn’t answer this question with one paragraph in the FAQ. ;)

Good luck!
*tosses glitter*

Thursday, July 01, 2010

How to Get an Agent: Part Three – The Query-Go-Round

This week I’m going through the steps of getting published. You can start from the beginning here.

So you’ve started to send out queries. What now?

Some agents respond within minutes, some take months, and some only respond if they are interested. Stay organized and keep a spreadsheet so you know where you stand.

Never under any circumstances write back something crazy to an agent. If you’re even thinking about writing some vengeful ‘how dare you reject me’ diatribe, then you need to think about whether or not you are ready for this giant Road of Rejection. If an agent rejects you, the only thing you should ever write back is “thanks for your time” and only do that if they send a detailed, personal rejection. After you get a rejection, note it in your spreadsheet, file it away, and move on. Everyone gets rejections.

Always be professional.

In some cases, the query-go-round turns into a whirlwind of quick requests and offers and wonderful phone calls. In most cases, it takes a while. Months. Don’t sit around and twiddle your thumbs. Work on your next book!

Imagine a year from now, you’ve queried 100 agents. Some have asked to read your manuscript, but it all ends in rejection. You’ve spent this year doing nothing because you were certain this book would snag you an agent. It didn’t and you have nothing else to offer. How do you feel? Pretty depressed, I’d think.

Now imagine that same scenario except that during the year you’ve finished your second book. So, yeah, 100 agents have rejected your first book, but now you’re ready to query again. Your second book is better than the first and you’re psyched to get back on the query-go-round. Not as depressing. More like…exciting!

Come back tomorrow for the last installment!