Hi gang! Happy New Agent Monday to you all (though a bit belated today…sorry). Even though I’ve been slightly crazed dashing around traveling the past few days, I just had to make a quick stop here and share some thoughts on what it’s like getting a new client.
First thought: Exciting!
Many queries I get just aren’t up to snuff, or are perfectly fine, yet not for me. Then I’ll get a query that makes me sit up and think, hello! So I’ll eagerly read the attached first 20 pages I request in my guidelines. And all too often those 20 pages just don’t do it for me.
But once in a while, those pages really sing. That’s what happened a week ago when I got the opening pages to a debut novel titled LOOK WELL. Holy smokes. The writing was riveting. I requested the novel immediately. That was on a Friday. Got the full 2 hours later, loaded it onto my Kindle, and dove in, reading it throughout Saturday, finishing it in the wee hours of the morning. YES!
So, exciting! Exciting that the book fulfilled the promise it’d set up. Exciting that it made me eager to jump up and grab the phone and call the author immediately. (But I had to wait a few hours first…we are in different time zones.)
Second thought: Hopeful!
Okay, so far things are going along smoothly, but now I have to hope that when I talk with the client, we’re on the same page (ha-ha) about what our working relationship will be, about possible edits, about promotion. And I’m hopeful that I can convey just how special I feel the writing is, and what I in particular as an agent can do for her work…stuff like helping with any in depth editing cuz I’m a writer too, offering my experience in book promo, my unending enthusiasm, plus the backing of The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency, a fabulous group that includes its own film and foreign rights agents. Also, I’m hopeful that the author and I communicate well with each other, since we need to be able to work positively together for the long haul.
So I call and we talk and everything is AWESOME, but, like many great manuscripts, this full manuscript is being looked at by several other agents, so that leads us to…
Third thought: Anxious!
Here’s the part you never hear about. The part where the tables are turned, and the agent hopes that you, the writer, will choose me, the agent as your representative. I’ve basically made my pitch, and I’m ready to go, but I also want the writer to make the choice that she feels is best for her. That’s what a good working relationship is about. (Of course I know I’m the right choice.) So I suggest she get back to me in a week and give those agents already reading the manuscript notice that she has an offer of representation and give them till the end of the week to let her know.
This part of the gig can go different ways. Sometimes the author tells me right away I’m going to be her agent, and simply lets the other agents know. Sometimes the author gives the other agents a time frame to also make an offer (which I absolutely understand). And then I wait to see if I will rep this author that I’ve fallen in love with or not. Kinda like college admissions where students spend years trying to build up an application worthy of an offer, then, once they get multiple offers from colleges, the colleges have to hope the student now will choose them. It doesn’t always work out, and that can be disappointing, but I always tell authors that whatever they decide, I know they will do great and I thank them for the opportunity to read their work. They should be very proud of the level of writing they’ve achieved. Which brings me to my final thought…and an announcement.
Final thought: Yes!
I’ve just signed my newest client Yvette Ward-Horner, author of the breath-taking debut novel LOOK WELL, which is about a woman obsessed with blazing a new trail up one of Alaska’s most treacherous peaks, and the two men who risk their lives and hearts for her. Yvette has had a number of short stories in journals and anthologies, and her story The Nomads won first place in the Literary/Mainstream category of Writer’s Digest Magazine‘s Annual Writing Competition. She’s an experienced climber who also is on a search and rescue team. No wonder her writing is so believable!
I’m thrilled to have her join my list of incredibly talented clients. You can check out my list of fabulous authors here.