We were so fortunate to have Sara Megibow blog with us for a while and I’ve decided to pull one of her all-time fave posts and publish it again. As always, she’s candid, real and full of the things we need to know. Check it out!
Let’s say your query is a huge success and agents ask for sample pages. Yipppeeee! Let’s say your sample pages are fantastic and agents are asking to read the full. Another YIPPEEEEE!!!! Now what? We don’t talk about this step in the publishing process as often and yet I have suggestions and insider tips.
1) If more than one agent asks to read the full, you do not have to worry about updating us on that step. In fact, if agents are asking for the full, then it’s 100% ok to keep querying. Just keep moving forward and don’t send out updates.
2) When you DO get an offer of representation, though, please let us know. Whether you’ve sent a query, a partial or a full – please contact all those agents to say, “I have an offer of representation on the table and I’ve asked for an addition number of days to follow up with other readers.” This is professional and normal and we appreciate the heads up. Emailing us to say “I’ve accepted an offer of representation” can feel frustrating because odds are we’ve already invested some time in reading your work and if we’re given that extra time to read and make a decision we will do so.
3) The one big exception to this rule – If your absolute dream agent is the one offering, it’s ok to let the other agents know you’re accepting what is essentially a pre-empt. Don’t ask an agent to spend her/his time reading your full manuscript if you know you are going to sign with someone else.
4) You’ve received an offer and are waiting for others to read and respond? Great!! Now…my suggestion is to stay hush hush about this on the internet. Don’t post or blog –just out of professional courtesy. Is it a deal breaker? No, but posting about submissions can cross the line so easily that I recommend avoiding it in general.
5) What is an appropriate amount of time to give your remaining readers? I’d say 5-8 business days. Let’s face it – if you email me today and ask me to read by tomorrow, I’m likely to pass even if I would have liked the book. But, 5-8 business days is totally professional and fine. The offering agent will wait and the other agents will appreciate the extra time.
6) Does an offer on the table increase your chances of having other agents offer? I say no although other people say yes. Here’s an insider secret – we know that authors sometimes fake an offer just to get us to read. Horrifying yes, and yet it happens. Don’t do this. The entire publishing experience requires patience – don’t blow your chances by trying to force the system. It’s not a great system and we all know that. But, cheating or lying doesn’t help.
7) Email, don’t call. Most agents have a no-phone-call policy listed on their website. Please respect this policy even if you feel your situation is urgent. We do read our email even if it takes a day or two to get to it. We don’t answer the phone (well, at our agency we don’t answer the phone – someone else out there might do it differently).
8) Many of these suggestions apply if you’ve received an offer of representation from an agent OR a book deal from a publishing house.
9) For the record, we get 2-3 of these emails a week – authors who have an offer of rep from another agent or a book deal from a publishing house. It’s not an unusual situation and we try hard to honor these more urgent requests.
Hope you are all in this situation soon and I hope these ideas help!
On Wednesday, K.M. Weiland is here to discuss writing epic love stories. See you there!
Bio: Sara Megibow, Associate Literary Agent
Nelson Literary Agency, LLC
Sara has worked at the Nelson Literary Agency since 2006. As the Associate Literary Agent, Sara is actively acquiring new clients! The Nelson Literary Agency specializes in representing all genres of romance (except inspirational or category), young adult fiction of all subgenres, science fiction/ fantasy and commercial fiction (including women’s fiction and chick lit). Sara is an avid romance reader and a rabid fan girl of super sexy and intelligent stories.
Nelson Literary Agency is a member of AAR, RWA, SFWA and SCBWI. Please visit our website http://http://www.nelsonagency.com/ for submission guidelines, FAQs, resources and sample query letters. Sara’s Publisher’s Marketplace site (www.publishersmarketplace.com/members/SaraMegibow)  is a great place to find more about her personal tastes, clients and recent sales. You can also cyber stalk Sara on twitter @SaraMegibow