Monday, September 20, 2010

What keeps you up at night?

I'm ready to admit that I'm terrified of messing up my search for an agent.

It's the way that the timing is out of my control that kills me. Let's say, for instance, that I have a partial out to an agent that takes a full 6 weeks to read 50 pages. And then let's say that a new agent comes on the market, someone with decades of experience in the industry, and I fire off a query letter, thinking basically that New, Experienced Agent wouldn't want me, but I'll give it a shot. And then she requests a full, and she's got superfast turnaround.

Then say that a non-query email with a likewise New But Extremely Talented Agent leads to that agent asking what I write, and I tell her, and she says to send her a partial, too.

This would all be really awesome, right? Except I don't know how to handle this. I know it's silly to worry about it, because reading is not offering representation, not at all, but what if New Experienced Agent or New But Extremely Talented Agent offer representation? Do I wait for Super Yet Slow Agent to get back to me? Do I send them an email and hope they will get back to me soon enough that I don't look like a total butthead to N.E.A. or N.B.E.T.A.?

That is what I worry about. Looking like a jerk. That and not having an amazing relationship with my agent. I want to know that their input helped me to take it up a notch. I want an agent that gets who I am and what I'm about. I want someone who will know that if they aren't sure if I'm joking, that I am. I want somebody who shoots me an email out of know where, telling me they were thinking about my book, and wouldn't it be cool if....

I want someone who loves my book as much as I do.

Excuse me. I have to go read some agent blogs and make sure I get all this etiquette right. And go check out my friend Teresa's blog post on her editing letter. Very informative, and she always manages to throw in some good lines. Really, go find out why you need to get an ulcer, pronto!

And Kathryn Magendie has a brilliant post on the relationship betwen chipmunks and procrastinating. And M&Ms. You need to know this stuff, I promise!


  1. Hey, Kelly! Relax! Here's what you do:

    If New Experienced Agent or New But Extremely Talented Agent make you an offer of representation, tell them that Super Yet Slow Agent also has your partial/full, and that you would like to give Super Yet Slow Agent an opportunity to respond. Agents understand and are okay with this. Then just send Super Yet Slow Agent a nice e-mail to let them know that you've been offered representation. Then Super Yet Slow Agent bumps you to the head of the line or not. Either way, you've got an offer waiting on you.

    And I believe you will end up with the right agent for you! You hit the most important thing about having an agent: someone who believes in you and your writing. Your agent is going to be selling your book and you want someone who is as hyped by your novel as you are. That is the perfect agent. ;-)

    Thanks for the link!

  2. Haha, Teresa- easy for you to say! I know what you're saying is true, and yet...

    I don't like to wonder how things will turn out. That's it. I keep trying to talk myself out of it, and then my head is okay, but my heart is not, so I thought, maybe if I just get it out there, I can move on with my life. I'll let you know if it works. Thanks for the encouragement.

    Wow. Checkout that run-on. I'm impressed with myself. Goodnight!

  3. Breathe, Kelly:) Teresa is exactly right - if you get an offer, you're going to give the other agents who have your manuscript a chance to throw their hats into the ring as well. In that way, I think it's fantastic that you've got other agents reading, because if just one of them offers, it forces all the others to get back to you in a hurry:)

    Hang in there, Kelly, especially since it's a manuscript worth hanging for.

  4. Congrats on having agents interested in your manuscript!

  5. Yes, what Teresa said! ... Agents understand all this - they've seen heard felt it all. And they know writers will be querying more than one agent. Beyond that, if you receive requests like this, it could excite the other agents!

    Mainly, doing what feels RIGHT for YOU is the important thing

    and thanks for the link (teehee) :-D

  6. Aw, thanks Krista. That means a lot since now I know what a great beta you are. Thanks for exposing my lack of noticing if a compound word is spaced or not. I'll never assume I know those again!

    Myrna- Thanks! I meant to set this post up as more of a hypothetical situation, but I was tired last night.

    Kathryn- I can see with a bunch of M&Ms in your cheeks. Did you ever play the game Chubby Bunny? Where you stuff marshmallows in your mouth two at a time, seeing who can get the most and still be able to say "Chubby Bunny?" That was one of my favorite camp games, but it's so nasty. You should try it. It sounds like you and your chipmunk could have a good game. Maybe he could have mini marshmallows?

  7. When I was querying, I found that erring on the side of courtesy wins out. Whether it was necessary or not, I let agents reading fulls know when others had requested my ms.

    Good luck!

  8. Thanks, Caroline. That's a good rule. It makes sense. I hadn't thought about distinguishing between agents with fulls and partials in that way.

  9. Totally feel you there! I have the same worries and fears. It's hard to accept we have no real control of fate.
    Glad to have found you! And good luck!

  10. Hey Colene-
    Nice to meet you! Thanks and good luck to you, too.