Monday, May 19, 2014

What to Do When The Agent Calls You

So far I shared some helpful links on how to find an agent, whether or not you should submit to an agent or publisher, how to write a query, and how to write a pitch. You've submitted your queries and so now the wait begins. 

What happens when you finally get the call

Do you know what to expect?

How will you react?

Do you know what questions to ask?

Image courtesy of Boians Cho Joo Young /
Here's a scenario:

Agent: Hi wonderful writer, this is so-n-so from Blank Agency.

Wonderful writer: Who?

Agent: So-n-so from Blank Agency. You sent me a couple of your manuscripts in hopes of seeking representation.

Wonderful writer: OH! Yes, now I remember. 

Agent: I'm calling to let you know that I see a lot of promise from you and I'd like to represent you. Are you interested?

Wonderful writer: Ahhhhhhh!!!! EEEEeeeee!!! Woooooootttttt!

Agent: I take that as a yes? Now do you have any questions for me?

Wonderful writer: Uhhhhh.....Ummmm...Thinking. Thinking. Thinking. Can I get back to you?

Don't let this be you!

I haven't had the opportunity to be in a situation like this, but I thought it would be important to prepare myself to avoid the awkwardness. 

By being prepared with what to expect and asking smart questions, it'll make your conversation with your agent a smooth one.

I've collected some helpful links for your convenience. I've summarized the posts and organized them in order of use for easy reference.

What to do when the agent calls you- before the call, during the call, after the call

Before the Call
What to Ask Literary Agent When You Get the Call by Casey McCormick
Casey of Literary Rambles gives some sound advice on being prepared. She shares a list of questions found on other sites that she's created for herself. This is an exhaustive list from which you can pick and choose the ones that work for you. Of course, it's best to study your agents before hand. You should have some knowledge as to how your agents works. This will help you reduce your questions to the most important ones.

Questions to Ask an Agent by Kathy Temean
Kathy shares the top 10 questions that agent Linda P. Epstein of Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency deems as the most thoughtful questions she's been asked by her client Lesley Cheah and others. If you don't want to go through an exhaustive list, then this list is for you.

During the Call
Taking a Call...The Call by Heather Ayris Burnell 
Heather, Creator of the Sub-It-Club, gives advice on how to respond to an offer for representation. In other words, how to tactfully tell an agent that you need time to think about it or to notify other agents who have your manuscripts.

After the Call
Handling Outstanding Queries When an Agent Offers Representation by Lisha Cauthen
What about the other agents whom you've never heard back from? Lisha of Sub-It-Club has a checklist made out to help us handle a situation like this. She also includes a sample letter that you can send to the agents who are still holding on to your manuscripts. 

You Have an Agent Now What
The Agent/Client Contract by Mira Reisberg
Agent Mira Reisberg of Hummingbird Literary Agency addresses some of the important aspects that are listed in an agent/client contract. 

Now That The Dust Has Settled
How to Fire Your Agent by Jenny Bent
This is something we hope we don't have to do, but it can happen. Jenny goes over some points to consider before we make the decision to fire an agent. She also shares some tips on how to go about firing an agent with dos and don'ts and includes other helpful links

So there you have it. I suggest going through the links in this order. Prepare your questions for the agent who calls, have a letter to other agents ready to go, and practice your happy dance!

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane /


  1. What an awesome list of resources to help people prepare for that happy, fateful moment! And your hypothetical scenario where the author goes "who?" totally cracked me up. :D I think most writers are all too painfully aware of where and to whom they've sent queries off to, but this was much funnier. Thanks, Romelle!

    1. Glad you found the humor in the scenario. If it were me, I'd stumble a lot with my words so that's why I thought I'd better be prepared. Still waiting for that day, but I put a hold on submissions for now.



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