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......