You Don’t Have to Accept an Agent’s Offer of Representation
With all the offers of representation from agents coming in after Pitch Wars and Twitter pitch contests, I wanted to bring something up that’s hard for writers to accept.
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO TAKE ANY OFFER OF REPRESENTATION.
Here’s the thing. Whether you’re querying or entering contests, if you get an offer of representation from an agent, the first thing you’re going to do is die. That’s automatic and expected. But once you pick yourself up off the floor, and you’ve had time to catch your breath, you need to evaluate the situation. Even if you’ve already done some research on this agent, dig deeper. Talk to her clients, and not just the ones she provides as references.
Ask yourself these questions:
-Am I satisfied with what I’ve learned about this agent?
-Do I have more questions for her? (If so, don’t be shy. Now is the time to ask.)
-Does he seem passionate about my story? Or is he giving me the money vibe? Translation: Do I feel like he sees me as dollar signs/easy sale? Or does he want to fight for this manuscript because he loves the story and characters as much as I do?
-Do I agree with her revision ideas (if any)? Do we share the same vision for this story?
-Am I satisfied with his answers to my questions? (You did ask him questions, right?)
-Is she hard to talk to? Or do we gel?
-Is he pushing me to give him a quick answer? (An agent should allow you at least a week to contact other agents who have your material in case they want to offer too. This time a year, two weeks is acceptable because everyone is busy. If an agent tells you to make your decision that day—or in a few day—and he won’t wait longer than that, he’s bullying you. Is that really the kind of relationship you want to have with an agent? Remember, not having an agent is better than having a bad one. You want to enter this relationship as partners not as his puppet.)
-Most importantly, what does my gut tell me? Do I want to accept this offer because I’m afraid nobody else will want to represent me? Or do I want to take this offer because it’s the right fit for my career?
Is it a risk to turn down an offer? Yes. There are no guarantees in life. However, there’s a strong probability that if you sign with the wrong person for the wrong reasons, you’ll regret it. So, take your time to make the right decision for you. Don’t worry about what anyone else says. This is your career. Your life. Only you can live it.
This is my last post for 2016. My 2015 Pitch Wars mentee will stop by in January to talk about her experience working with me and hooking her agent.
SALE on manuscript evaluation reports booked for January 2017 slots. Regular price is $0.015/word. Sale price: $0.01/word. For example: 80,000 words WAS $1,200 and is NOW $800. That’s HUGE savings, but you have to book ASAP.
Developmental/line editing combo SALE: Save up to $100 off a full manuscript edit for January 2017 slots.