As previously promised, I’m back to continue my comments on literary-love (regarding the road to literary representation) …
This installment is pertaining to that much dreamt about euphoric-phone-call, better known as “THE CALL”!
First of all CONGRATS if you’ve found yourself in the magical moment where a literary agent has contacted you, states he/she does in fact LOVE your work, & would like to set-up a time to talk! Not email, but a real-to-goodness phone conversation. Yaay you!!!
But a few very important tips (after you’ve peeled yourself off the ceiling & have apologized to family members for scaring them silly with your shrilling shrieks)!
1. Impede the impulse to have a knee-jerk reaction, as to where you respond the same millisecond you receive the email request…RSVPing (Reacting Super Vagrant-ly & Premature) & wistfully writing YES, to any of the below …
YES! Can we speak today … in an hour … in a minute … anytime you can squeeze-me-in!?
YES! I will wait with baited-breath for your call (of course you wouldn’t say this … would you??)
YES! I will clear my schedule, call-in-sick, lock the kids in the closet …WHEN CAN WE TALK!???????
Ok, enough of the comedy! Seriously, you need to THINK before you respond. Think about when you CAN clear (give yourself about an hour here) a time that will be quiet & chaos-free, because like a job interview, you’ll need to be focused in order to listen, really listen & to ASK QUESTIONS! Which takes me to the second important preparatory point ….
2. After you have narrowed down a couple of quiet times that will work for you, email said agent back, ” Yes, I would be very interested in speaking with you (name here). Would either Wed @ noon, or Friday @ 3pm be a convenient time for you to talk? I look forward to hearing from you.”
NOW start your list of questions. This list can include (but not be limited to) relevant questions you have regarding: years as an agent, types of sales, author-clients… but most of this you should ALREADY know if you’ve done your homework!
I believe the best & most important questions you should ask an agent, to gauge your ‘compatibility’ as a good author-agent-match, are as follows …
1. Are they an editorial, or collaborative-type agent? IE: Does this agent offer revision suggestions & will he/she ‘work with you’ on the manuscript until it is shiny & polished? Most rookie writers will want & benefit from this type of hands-on agent!
2. What is their communication style? IE: Does this agent have an ‘open lines of communication’ personality, or perhaps prefers more regimented contact (monthly, bi-monthly, or only when there may be updates/news)?
3. Ask the agent what they envision for your (as in both of yours) literary-career & their tentative game-plan for its success.
I feel these two questions are VITAL! Have your notes in front of you & LISTEN very carefully. It may seem like common-sense, yet when adrenaline, serotonin & sheer nervous excitement is cursing through your veins it’s amazing how our brains can become bogged-down with fog & frenzy!
Lastly, remember to breath, if for no other reason than to avoiding passing-out so you are able to utter, “YES!” If you’ve decided that you have in fact met your long-awaited literary-agent-ally!!
Literary Love to All,