Monday, October 18, 2010

He's Just Not That Into You...

So, here's a bit of news: I've gotten a formal offer of representation AND contract from a literary agent. SQUEEEE!! It happened fast, and I'll give details soon, I promise. But first, I'm waiting on 4 other agents (who have the full manuscript) to respond, before formally making my decision/announcement. Which leads me to this...

When I contacted those 4 agents (to tell them I had an offer, and to give them a few days to respond - a professional courtesy), two of those agents replied immediately, saying they would read the material quickly and respond by the deadline. But the other two?? Ehh...not so much. Nothing. Nada. Crickets. Now, granted, perhaps they ARE reading the material right now and PLAN to respond in some way, but simply forgot to tell me (lol). Or, the greater possibility is this:

They're just not that into me.

You know that book, right? With that same title? It was even turned into a movie. Well, I admit that I gave that book a skim a couple of years ago, and it had some really sound advice about relationships. The premise is this: IF a guy is interested in you, he'll let you know. He'll make it very, very clear. And if he's not, he'll make it clear, too.

Well, the same can probably be said about agents. For most of them, upon reading a manuscript, it's a fairly-clear "yes" or "no." They're either "into" your book, or they're not.

And sometimes, it takes a LOT of months or years of various agents being "not" into your book to finally find the one who is. That agent who GETS your book, who loves it, who understands it - who wants to represent it! You'll know. Trust me, you'll know.

A flaky agent, a wishy-washy "I'm not really sure about this" agent is not the one for you. Because the one who is into your book will TELL YOU. They'll be excited about your book and will talk about its possibilities. They'll feel an urgency about representation. They'll make it clear how they feel, no games, no serious doubts.

*Note - I do believe that some agents will have great faith in a novel that's "not quite there yet" and will request rewrites, without offering representation. That's not being wishy-washy; that's being realistic. But - when the rewrites are completed and resubmitted, there should soon be a moment where that agent experiences that urgency, that excitement about the book which tells you he/she is "into" the book. If not, then you should probably move along...

*Another note to clarify: Re-reading my own entry just now, it seems ridiculous of me to "complain" about agents being "not into me" when I'm lucky enough to have a formal offer on the table. But that's really not what I meant at all - I'm utterly flattered and humbled by ANY offer that comes my way. I only thought that this was a unique opportunity to discuss an agent - any agent - being "into" our work....or not...and seeing the difference so clearly.

So, more tomorrow on the agent situation! Stay tuned for the details......


  1. Why did you not just withdraw your submissions from the other agents? It seems that the agent who wants you to sign a contract is into your work. By telling the interested agent that you are waiting for responses from other agents will probably make them think you are not very excited to work with them. Why risk having them withdraw their offer to you?

  2. That's a good point, and I would agree, except for 2 things: 1) one of the other agents who's still making a decision has asked for 2 sets of re-writes over the past 5 months, and has invested a great amount of time in my book (with no firm offer of representation so far - but she still hasn't said "no" yet). So, I felt very obligated to at least give her 5 days to make a decision before I made mine.

    2) I've done extensive research on this subject, because I want so badly to do everything "right" at this stage. Most agent blogs say that it's very common (and expected) for the author to give the other agents a chance to respond. In fact, they say it's polite and respectful - and that the offering agent should have no problem with it. The agent offering me a contract totally understood my decision, and in fact, said he'd fully expected it (because that's the norm in the industry). Usually, an agent will see it as a courtesy, for the author to contact the others and give them a chance to respond.

    It's funny - just a few hours ago, "Getting Past the Gatekeeper" (at the left menu) wrote a blog entry on that - "How do I let other agents know I got an offer?" In fact, she suggests giving ALL the agents a full week to respond.

  3. That's good to know. I hope everything goes well and you sell a million copies.

  4. I just reread the Gatekeeper's entry, and she takes it a step further - she recommends contacting all agents you've merely queried, who haven't yet responded, to tell them about the offer and give them all a full week to respond. That would be a LOT for me, not just 4. But I only contacted the 4 who wanted fulls.

    I just feel that if an agent has gone to the trouble of asking for a full manuscript, he/she deserves a handful of days to review it before a decision is made...and that the offering agent would understand that, wanting the same courtesy in that position, too. Just my opinion...

  5. lol - thank you, Anonymous!! By the way, I didn't mean to be long-winded in my replies. It's just that it's a complicated issue, and I only recently just figured out the protocol...

    I love those agent blogs that give little tips like they do. I never would've known about the etiquette in this situation otherwise.

  6. Hey, Traci! Congrats!!!!!!!!!!!

    May the best agent win! ;-)

  7. Thank you so much, Deb!!!! I'm still pinching myself, half-expecting him to email me back and say "Ha! Just kidding!" LOL

    I always appreciate your support and encouragement! :-)

  8. Congrats Traci. I too have read the Gatekeeper's blog and it is sound advice. Take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy this amazing moment! You earned it!

  9. Thank you, Trisha - I needed to hear that tonight, lol, about relaxing. It's been a wild ride and I've been quite stressed about it. Even though it's something so wonderful. I just want to make good decisions, and I feel a bit overwhelmed.

    Your support is appreciated! ;-)

  10. I am so excited about this. You are right - - Shannon would have been way excited, too.

    (BTW - I loved that movie. Never read the book. I think EVERY 18 year old female should see this movie. Alone. Not on a date. And she should listen. to. every. word. I wish I'd seen it back in the day. I watch it now and nod in agreement.)

  11. Thanks, B! I know - I wish Shannon were here right now....

    That movie was good - I need to see it again. The book is GREAT. It's not a "story" like the movie - just hilarious advice from a hilarious comedian (Greg Behnret <--or something like that). He's soooo funny. He was a writer on Sex & the City.

  12. Yay. Congratulations on getting an offer. That's amazing news. :)

  13. Thanks, Lindsay! I still can't believe it!

  14. Just wanted to send my congrats to your blog! I saw your posts on QueryTracker--under the Pen and Ink lit section--and just wanted to give you a virtual high-five for landing an agent! Again, congrats! :)


  15. Keliah - thanks so much for posting and for your kind words! *accepts high-five and gives it back* lol

    I'm still in shock, honestly. It's the strangest feeling - ecstatic, nervous, stressed, all at once! Still pinching myself...