Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Great Literary Agent Race, Part 11

Most of us writers think about getting an agent's offer the same way a romance reader thinks about the heroine getting a marriage proposal from the leading man: 'And they lived happily ever after.'

Except this is real life.

First, I contacted all the agents who hadn't rejected me yet (the 'exclusive' e-mail I had sent around eventually yielded a few 'congratulations and no thanks' from two or three previous non-responders). My email had in the subject line "OFFER OF REPRESENTATION -- CLIENT RELATIONS.'  Can I even describe how awesome that email made me feel? Actually, I can't describe it - I was in a state of suspended animation.

My 'offer' email resulted in a few more auto-responses, plus one or two more rejections. And from the three lecturers? Two agents admitted to 'sour grapes' for lecturing me about the exclusive, another asked me to give her a week to read 'Client Relations' before accepting the offer. And that agent was also fabulous. So suddenly, after all these years of writing, revising, getting smacked around at conferences, attending wild and wooly writers' classes, dealing with faceless Internet comments -- suddenly, I was wanted.

That was beyond disorienting.

Anyway, I agreed to give the other agent a week to read, but you know what? After talking to Jane on the phone, a lot of things clicked into place. I checked her website, Publishers Marketplace, and a bunch of other blogs and sites over and over, giving myself my usual headache. I'm such a pain in my ass.

The next day, I told Jane 'yes' and the other agent 'no.' And sent all the vacationers and remaining non-responders an email notifying them. Which really did feel great. Even better in retrospect, since I can now accept that this actually happened to me!

Then what?

The agency sent me their contract. Back to my usual ways, I researched what clauses to look out for, searched for a publishing lawyer to review the contract, and got one to review it for me -- over Labor Day Weekend, no less. I discussed those comments with Jane's partner the following week, which was far easier than negotiating separation agreements! She finalized the contract.

But it wasn't until I received Jane's countersigned copy that I breathed again.

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