We've talked about Getting the Call. What happens next? (I mean, after all the jumping up and down and screaming and dancing and acting like a maniac.) Well, there's a lot of stuff that has to happen in the week between getting The Call and giving your financial decision.
When Agent1 offered, I had one agent reading a partial manuscript and eight more still reading the full. I'd also just sent a storm of queries two days earlier, and I had probably 20 or so that had been out for anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months.
I started with the agents that had requests. I put "OFFER RECEIVED" in the subject so they'd see the email next time they opened their email. Three of those agents wrote back right away, saying they'd get it done by the end of the week. But then I didn't know what to do with the agents that only had a query letter (especially those that got it less than 48 hours earlier). I went back and forth on this a few times. There were agents on that list I didn't really think I'd pick over Agent1. Some agents I had no contact with whatsoever other than reading QueryTracker and their website. I honestly considered simply withdrawing my query from the agents that didn't have blogs or Twitter, because I had zero way to determine their personality and know if we'd really fit.
Ultimately, though, I went ahead and emailed everyone. After all, if I liked them enough to query originally, they deserved a chance to look at the query before I signed with someone else. Two replied quickly to bow out. Two replied quickly to ask to read the full manuscript, which I sent immediately. (One sent a form rejection letter to the original query two months later - I guess not everyone looks for updates in their query inbox.)
Within about 24 hours, I had one offer on the table and ten full manuscripts out. Four of the agents with fulls bowed out quickly. I saw online that the agent with the partial was on vacation. It happens. If you get an offer and one of the agents you want to work with is on vacation, you have to decide if it's worth asking for more time. In my case, not knowing when she'd be back and because she only had a partial, I sent the email and figured if it was meant to be, she'd see it in time. She sent a very nice congratulatory email a couple of weeks later, and that's fine with me.
Thursday morning, a friend told me Agent2 was tweeting about a manuscript she was reading. I panicked, but soon found that the tweets were positive. I couldn't stop smiling, especially when I found an email asking if I had time to chat. Yes, I did.
On Friday, I got an email from the assistant of one of the agents still reading, asking for more time. I waited to talk to Agent2 before replying, because in my heart, I just didn't see any way I'd pick any other agent over Agent2. (I'd already told a friend I'd sign with Agent 2 even if she wanted me to add vampires to my contemporary women's fiction.) It felt weird, but after the second Call, I emailed the agent to say I really needed an answer by the deadline, but I understood if they couldn't do it. It felt weird to be turning down a big, widely-respected agent, but perfectly natural to say, "Agent2 is the one for me." Because it felt absolutely right, and I knew she was the one for me as soon I read the tweets on her timeline.
So that left me with 2 offers, 5 agents reading, and 4 days to make a decision. What next? (To be continued...)