Wow, 2010’s been pretty exciting for my group of friends. One after another they’ve gotten offers of representation or book deals, and I’m hoping my offer is just around the corner (with so many requests, it just might be). Because I’ve gotten to see all these offers in rapid succession, I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon.
I know agents have lots of queries and lots of fulls and partials to read, and that’s not even their first priority. Their current clients are their priority, and they should be. Obviously, they can’t put aside their responsibilities to their current clients so they can read potential client’s mss. And they can’t say which will be the one that grabs them and won’t let go, so there’s no knowing which they need to read right now.
But, agents, this is what I see, over and over and over again.
The first agent to offer gets the most enthusiasm. When more than one agent offers, every single one of my friends has been inundated with cries of “Team [Agent 1].” The argument always comes up that that first agent was the one who was enthusiastic enough to read the novel quickly (usually) while another might have had you waiting endlessly. She was the one chasing you, not the one you had to chase. Instantly, she becomes the number one choice, and the others have to try harder to prove that they’re right for the author.
Now, as others make offers and the author and their friends do more research into them, that opinion can change. The teams might switch. (Don’t lose hope if you didn’t offer first.) For example, one agent might have more experience in the author’s genre, or some current clients might share an experience with the first agent that doesn’t sit well with the author. But that first agent? She has the momentum. And all other things being more or less equal, she will win the author over.
Be the offering agent. It pays if you really want that author.
I know, I know. Easier said than done.
Lots of love,