Literary Agent Offer?! Now What?



hello everyone Alexa done here and today I am talking about what happens when an agent wants to have a call with you this basically means what do you do when you get an offer most of the time asking for a call does mean an offer but in a small percentage of cases it is an RNR call or a revise and resubmit request I have a whole video coming about what to do when you get a revise and resubmit request from an agent but for the purposes of this video we are going to assume that the call that you get is an offer conversation so what do you do when an agent offers representation so the first thing to do to prepare for your call that's assuming the agent emails you some agents do call you out of the blue and I know that sounds absolutely terrifying in it is but it's just the style of some agents and think about it you'll have a wonderful fun story for the call if they call you out of the blue and you're at lunch or you're on the bus or what have you and that to12 number shows up that's a New York area code and it's an agent on the other end of the phone telling you how much they loved your book but I would say 80 to 90% of agents are going to email you ahead of time to set up a convenient time to talk now because of that our in our situation when you get an email asking for a call kind of read it as closely as possible I know you're gonna be obsessively reading it anyway you can usually tell when it's definitely an offer but sometimes it's a little bit nebulous r-e isn't an R&R call so go into the call with low expectations and then be pleasantly surprised but it is okay to be pretty excited about an agent offering for a call you do want to prepare ahead of time pick a time when you have at least an hour to talk when you have privacy so if it's during the day it's your lunch hour and you know know that you can go somewhere private or you know pick a time when you know you can be home and you know in a space by yourself where you can take notes because you do want to take notes and you are going to prepare for this call there's a whole list of questions that you should have ready to ask the agent you don't necessarily have to like go through every single question usually off recalls are a more organic conversation and the ball is in the court of the agent so they will take the lead but you should have a list of questions prepared so if the agent doesn't bring up anything or if things don't come up organically in the conversation you can ask but don't worry you're a call with an agent the first call of an agent if it isn't a free call it's not your only opportunity to talk to them you can always talk to them again or send them follow-up questions over email so deep breaths don't freak out too much about the call it's not all or nothing but I will have a whole separate video on some of those questions you might want to have for the call and because this one will be posting first I will have a link down below to some of those questions there are lots of really great resources on line so I will link to that down below but I have lots of feelings about what you should and shouldn't talk about on the call and some of the best ways to ask it so we'll definitely be doing a video on that and you want to take notes while you're on the call as much as you can either while you're on it or immediately after like immediately after write down everything you can remember because in the event you end up with multiple offers and it does happen you're gonna want to refer it back to those notes like oh how did agent a answer those questions versus agent B when you're taking notes you can also take you know a note of the vibe like how are you vibing on the phone what is that fit like now I'm not actually gonna go into the Nitty Gritty of how to handle the call other than to say don't be too stressed out it's exciting even though you might be a little bit anxious those questions that you have pre-prepared or your crutch you can lean on them they're there for you if you feel awkward or things stall a little bit and just in case them each it does call you out of the blue I do recommend having a document of questions to ask on the call saved in a convenient location that you can access on your phone or your desktop on the fly I kept mine in Google Drive just in case so it was ready for me when I needed it and I think that is a really helpful tip whether you prepare the call ahead of time or they call you out of the blue I'm going to focus on what you do when you get the offer after the offer calls so the first thing you're gonna do still on the call is thank the agent for their offer of representation and asked for seven to ten days two weeks max to notify other agents who have your manuscript or your query and make your decision don't just do jump on the phone get the offer and go yes yes I accept I will be your client I know it's really really tempting and of course so exciting when someone wants you even an especially if it's your dream agent but the professional courtesy and any good agent understands this is to inform everyone who still has your book that you have received an offer this gives them the opportunity to read and possibly also offer or withdraw and I caution authors to you know decide yes this this is my ancient when the first agent offers just in case because you never know what's gonna happen in a multiple offer scenario I'd say very anecdotally probably 60% of the people I know do end up going with the first person who off offered it's the best fit etc so on and so forth but there's always that you know wrench in the works when it's the second agent or the third agent that they talk to who's just magic on the phone the fit is there they really get the vision and people end up signing not with the first agent who offers you need to open yourself up to that possibility and do the professional courtesy of letting people know nothing annoys agents more then getting to a manuscript finally getting to a manuscript and then emailing you and finding out you signed with someone three weeks ago or you know you email them and say hey sorry I have an agent now by and you didn't even give them a chance to read and possibly counteroffer it's just really annoying to agents and I hesitate to say that you're gonna be on some like blacklist that's not really a thing but agents do remember so professional courtesy is always a good idea now seven to ten days is standard two weeks I personally feel is kind of the max it would be a very weird and extreme situation to go more than two weeks to make your decision I'd say that can happen in the case of like holiday so if you got an offer right before say the Christmas holidays it might be reasonable to ask for three weeks but my advice is always 7 to 10 days or two weeks max now you're going to email every single setting submission that's agents with your partial agents with your full and any agents with your query who haven't responded to your query yet you're of course not going to email people who have already rejected you reply to the same email chain whether it's your query gene or the chain where they requested your partial full or where you sent it to them and you amend the subject line to say offer a representation received and then you let them know you've received an offer of representation you want to let that agent know by X date your decision and you hope that they are considering your manuscript still considering your manuscript or will consider your manuscript thank you very much for your time and so on many agents will bow out right away especially if the timing just doesn't work for them or they know that they're just not passionate enough about it and they're pleased for you that you have someone who is passionately interested in advocating for your work but many agents will jump right into reading they'll get back to you they'll say thank you I will try to read by the deadline other agents will up a partial request to a full or those queries you can have those outstanding queries very quickly convert to full requests because well now there's an offer on the table and they want to see what that's all about now we email these agents you do not need to tell them who your offers from and generally I don't recommend volunteering that information however some agents will ask you did your offer from it's up to you whether or not to tell them honestly I am kind of a pushover and generally don't think there's too much harm in telling them if asked so I always told the agents if your offers from a stellar agent it might spur them on to read because they go oh that agent has really good taste I have to see what this is about or sometimes admittedly they might go oh gosh that's a super agent I can't compete and they'll bow out or to be perfectly honest some agents do ask this questions to ensure that you don't have an offer from Asham agent if you have an offer from ish major it could lessen their interest but of course I hope you haven't created any agents and the other reason some agents ask this is to make sure you're not lying which I know sounds dramatic never lie about an offer by the way I'm telling you that emailing agents and telling them you have an offer will expedite the process but don't lie you will be found out and it can really bite you in the butt because in you nudge agents when you have an offer sometimes you can get a ton of nose because there's just not enough time and agents will see oh if someone is already passionately interested in the story I'm not going to waste my time so as you can hear it's kind of the goods with the Bad's it's a complex and complicated situation getting an offer from an agent and nudging other agents but that's the professional courtesy and that's what you need to do and then you're gonna wait for your deadline you might end up with other offers of representation so what do you do well take those calls celebrate pop champagne and as I had mentioned take those notes because if you have multiple offers you're going to have to make hard decisions it's a great problem to have but it is legitimately kind of a problem it's a hard decision to make I helped a lot of people through this and so what do you do when you have multiple offers well I definitely advise talking to your friends talking to fellow writers talking to you know if you have a mentor in a mentoring program like other mentor match talk to your mentor because you're going to be comparing pros and cons of different agents I definitely urge you to consider editorial vision does it match sometimes it's a red flag if an agent doesn't think you have to revise at all and sometimes it's red flag if an agent thinks you have to completely rewrite your book you don't always want to go with the choice who wants you to do the least work but you don't always want to go with the choice that thinks you have to do a page one rewrite it's yeah I got to go with your gut of like which agent you really connected to on the phone but speaking of connecting on the phone picking an agent remains a business decision and you do need to consider business things now that list of questions you're gonna ask on the call a lot of these are business-related questions and so you have to honestly evaluate your style as a writer and as a person and their business style and whether or not you mesh it doesn't always have to be a crazy love match on the phone one of the reasons I warn people about this a little bit of Anik data from me my agent is not what I would call a gusher she just doesn't gush on the phone she's not a cheerleader we had a wonderful very for a business-oriented conversation on my call it was very clear that she loved the book she breezed through it and we had a really good conversation but she wasn't blowing smoke up my butt so to speak she's not a cheerleader she wasn't going oh this is the greatest book ever written and I'm gonna sell it for a million dollars my agent doesn't do that kind of hyperbole some agents do some agents are very effusive and yeah I have to think about yourself do you need an effusive cheerleader agent in that case that could really sway your decision but if you don't need that I'm just saying don't always go for the level of enthusiasm on the call raw enthusiasm on a phone call doesn't always indicate the best agent for you because it is ultimately a business decision your agent doesn't have to be your best friend but they do have to be a good business partner so your deadline rolls around and I hope you've made a decision so you first email the agent who you are going to accept say thank you so much I am thrilled to accept your offer of representation and then you compose a really heart to compose sorry but no email to all of the other agents there are some really good forms you can find to compose these emails I will shoot any links that I have down below like I think I have a few on my website I'll put those materials down below I definitely have nudge emails that I can link you to the offer of representation nudge emails and then that's it congratulations you have an agent let me know down below any questions you have about this whole process getting an offer what happens when you get an email or the call questions to ask since I am going to be recording that video and so on this is a big crazy exciting thing and I'm sure there are lots of questions give this video a thumbs up if you liked it and I will be sure to make more videos about querying and getting an agent I haven't talked too much about that part of the process but I love talking about that part of the process if you're not already subscribed to the channel I post new videos two to three times a week all about writing craft traditional publishing how to get an agent and so on thank so much for watching guys and as always happy rating and good luck query

34 thoughts on “Literary Agent Offer?! Now What?

  1. So I’m waiting to hear back from an agent and I’m going crazy with anticipation, lol. In the meantime, I’ve been binge watching all your videos on what happens after you get published 😀 thanks for sharing with us 😃

  2. I like this playlist. I’ve never looked into literary agents before.

  3. Love all the info in this video. It was the best video I've ever seen on this. Other youtubers just don't talk about this, so thank you sooooo much, Alexa. Love you and your videos. I watch all of them.

  4. Hi, I have my book on a hybrid publishing contract with a small press. Would you recommend getting an agent too? The idea of querying fills me with cold dread. I believe in my story, but am truly terrible at 'selling myself'.

  5. Hi Alexa – I'm just curious, you mention having your list of questions. Perhaps it's in another video I haven't come across yet, but could you offer some advice on where to start? What are the important things you recommend asking?

  6. Hi Miss Donne.
    This might sound stupid, but I have this inherent fear that if I submit my manuscript to an agency online (by email), it will either get lost, stolen, or some other horrifying catastrophe will occur. Is it always the case that you will have to send it through email, or will there be an equal number of face-to-face discussions?

  7. Thank you so much this is so helpful!! I am Querying agents at the moment!! Ahhhhh!!

  8. If I were an agent, and I offered to work with you and you said, "hey, I have my manuscript with other agents, let me inform them you offered me a deal" I don't know that wouldn't fly with me. My thing would be that you could accept my offer and then you could email all the other agents afterwards to tell them you are pulling your manuscript due to receiving representation.
    Trying to create a bidding war isn't the best strategy. You ever seen shark tank?
    You should always be able to make the deal right then and there. Not saying you should accept any offer just because it is the first. But you should be willing and able to lay out what you want, regardless if any other offers are forthcoming or not. You don't need a bidding war for that.
    Deals fall through all the time: don't let yours fall through by trying to get cute. Long story short: I don't agree that you should ask for time to decide.

  9. This was very informative and has some really smart tips!

  10. When notifying other agents about an offer, do you tell them who you are signing with?

  11. When notifying other agents about an offer, do you tell them who you are signing with?

  12. This was excellent! You're totaly right to be super prepared in case any agents decides to call out of nowhere, so they won't take you by surprise- I agree is super important to be leaded by emotion and take decisions at pure heart without analyzing

  13. Great video Alexa! Do you think you could talk a bit more about all the contracts you’ll have to sign for traditional publishing, like agent, book deal, etc contracts, and some red flags to be wary of before signing? Maybe even talk about movie adaption contracts if you have some insight on that? I hope everything is going well with the edits of TSWS! 🙂

  14. What about if you query an acquiring editor and they like your book? So agent / editor difference?

  15. Thank you for this video! I am going to try to get an agent when I go to publish my novel. I'm saving this video for later! 🙂

  16. super good! thank you so much. the questions for the call and email examples are also amazing!

  17. Thanks for the advice! But how do I find an agent in the first place and make sure they are legit?

  18. Loved this video! And I would love to watch more videos on querying and that process!

  19. I love your channel. You've provided outstanding advice to those who are serious about traditionally publishing. I'm about 5K short of 80K word count but should be at 80K word count by tonight or tomorrow. If it's a bit over, it should be cool beans. I've hit a snag though, and I got bummed out a bit. I don't really have a strong author platform. Sure, I've self-published two novels so far on Amazon. Does that qualify me of having a author platform? I have a FB Like page, twitter, website, blog page, Instagram account. No newsletter signs up, which I may change or alter how I want to interact with people on my website. I don't heavily market my self-published novels like I should. It's only because I'm tunnel focused on this sci-fi horror manuscript. When you were picked up by an agent, did you have already established an author platform? I've seen sites that say that publishers will only accept people with 10K followers on Facebook and what not. In my mind I wanna say, "Screw it, complete this manuscript and get some beta readers to read my manuscript then send it out to literacy agents and cross my fingers for the best." Anyways, Alexa, I know you're busy and hopefully you'll get back to this post. Your guidance will be much appreciated when you have time.

  20. I seriously want to thank you for this channel. We steam out clothes at one of my jobs (which involves a lot of soul searching) so I listen to your videos while I do my work, and they've given me so much information about the inside of the industry. I just went to my first writing conference at the beginning of the month where I pitched to four agents, and I got better results then I expected for my first go! I've been in the panic boat of, "I need to write my synopsis, what do I do?!" and you literally had a video up and ready to go when I needed it. It was like sunrays fell down and I whispered, "Girlfriend heard me." I've been a bookseller for six years, and it's just so amazing to have further behind the scene knowledge of this market, so I truly want to thank you (again) for this channel, and keep up the fantastic work!

  21. Do agents ever video call? I find body language more important than words chosen or voice inflection in a conversation. BTW, what is a smagent? The first thought in my mind came from the warped corner and suggested it meant sadistic-masochistic agent. Imagine the drama and pain in that relationship!

  22. I'm sooo happy to live in a country where you just write straight to the publisher. It saves so much time and nerve. Although it would be tough if none of the publishers wanted to publish your book… We don't really do self-publishing (except for poems).

  23. I'm just curious, since you say your agent wasn't the gushing cheerleader type, how did you decide they were "the one" for you? What was it about their business plan which knocked the other agents out of the running? 😊

  24. When you brought up Super Agents, that reminded me of a dilemma I've been tossing around. I'm still drafting my work in progress, but I've been doing my research on agents during lulls in the writing to motivate myself. To my excitement, I found the agent who works with one of my favorite authors in the world, who I'd be completely honored to represent my work. Except. Assuming my work even merits her notice, her client, my favorite author, is known for science fiction. While my current WIP happens to be in that genre, my projects down the line include fantasy, romance and cosmic horror. I plan on doing submissions in tiers for this WIP, sending out maybe ten queries to my first choices and giving them a few weeks before sending out another ten queries and so on. My questions are: 1) However excited I may be about an agent, should I consider them a first choice if it doesn't seem like my work will be a fit with their area of expertise? 2) Should I query agents that seem more like a sure thing, like those who represent a broader range of genres? 3) Would it be a waste of time to bother sending my work to a Super Agent's slush pile?

  25. If you plan on sending out a second round of queries BUT get an offer before you do so, would you recommend still sending the rest out in that 7-10 window marked as "offer of rep received" along with notifying all other agents who haven't gotten back to you yet? Would that be considered a faux pas?

  26. Thanks for this I'm currently in the query trenches. Hopefully I will have the opportunity to use your advice.

  27. I love your advice. I haven't been a subscriber for a long, but from every video that I've seen, you offer good advice. Thank you!

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