Friday, March 22, 2013

A Tale of Five Agents: Agent #3

Reno Bobcat
In January 2011 I heard back from another agent concerning a query I had sent out in October 2010.  Agent #3 echoed many of the initial reactions Agent #2 had given me about my book: there was a lot to like, but enough points in need of drawing out that she didn't feel she could make me an offer of representation.  From my blog she had read that I was already working with another agent and it sounded like I was on the right path with those revisions.

We exchanged a few emails.  I thanked her for her interest and told her that my work with the other agent was going well.  She asked that I keep her in mind if something happened and I said I would.

Then, that something happened.  The same day I received the rejection from Agent #2 in email, I contacted Agent #3, re-replying to our last email exchange.  Did she remember me and my book?  Was she interested in seeing the revision?

Within the hour Agent #3 responded.  She did, indeed, remember me and, even better, she'd love to read my revised manuscript!

I sent it out before the tear-stained pixels were dry on my monitor.

And then I waited...

And waited...

A polite, "Hi, remember me and my manuscript?" email many weeks later was returned by and out of office message.  A few hours later an actual response came, saying she was on vacation but had taken the manuscript with her and would get back to me in a week.  And then silence.

Three weeks later I sent out another, "Hello?" email.  This was followed up by an email that began by saying my manuscript was making its way around the office.  It ended by saying how Agent #3's Agency was committed to working with a writer for their entire writing career, not just a single book, and did I have sequels in mind? Could I send some sample chapters, perhaps?

Surely that was a good sign!  I scraped up the latest full revision of Book Two and sent it out along with pitches for Book Three and Book Four as well as two other story ideas.

And waited...

Somewhere back during one of those long waiting periods I decided I had a writing career to be responsible for and so I sent out another round of queries.  I let Agent #3 know this and dutifully updated her whenever I received a request for a partial or a full.  When one of those queried agents expressed an interest in working on the manuscript with me (more revisions!) I asked Agent #3 if we could speak sometime in the coming week so I could know what the status of my manuscript was within her agency.

Several days later I received a "Thanks for your patience, we've all be out at conferences" email that mentioned the members of the agency weren't united in their opinion of my book.  And since I had another agent interested in working on it, they felt it best to pass.

Luckily, I had had a good phone call with Agent #4 days before.  This meant my disappointment/frustration/annoyance was kept to a minimum and I was able to concentrate on Thinking Good Thoughts, even if they included yet another round of significant revisions.

Moral 1: Clear communication between yourself and an agent is essential.  If either side isn't willing to give it to the other, it probably means there are problems.  

Moral 2: It's YOUR career as a writer.  YOU have to be your own best advocate.  While patience is a necessary component to the process, know for yourself when it's time to move on.