You've Got An Agent..now what

Comes this from a Snarkling:

I'd love to hear more about: What should authors who have agents do - or not do! - while their agent is sending the manuscript around? My agent sent out my manuscript in May. I'm dutifully working on a sequel, but still on tenterhooks. When is it appropriate to ping her? (I'm thinking this month.) Would it be appropriate at all to ask her whom she sent it to?

May June July
If she sent it out in May she'll be hearing back from folks soon.
You can email her and say "im dying here, any news"
and yes, it's always ok to ask where your ms is at any given time,
and who's said no already.

It's YOUR work. Agents should keep you generally informed of what they are doing on your behalf. Some agents say rather boastfully that they forward every rejection letter to authors. I think those agents have part time jobs as sadists. Not every rejection letter needs to darken your door...but if you want to see them, of course, they should be sent.

While you're waiting, get off those tenterhooks and start making friends with writers who will be useful to you when your book is sold. Go to readings. Go to fan conventions. Introduce yourself to writers and tell them how much you like THEIR work. Don't introduce yourself as an unpublished writer. Once you've met someone its much easier to meet them a second time and when you're going to be published you'll have made some good initial contacts you can exploit.

Networking and building friendships is NOT speed dating. It's inefficient but if you know a better way to do it, Im all ears.

And keep writing. Not just the sequel but short stories. Get your name out there. SJ Rozan was where I heard about that idea and I tell all my clients to do it.

Once you sell the book, you'll need to start gearing up for publicity and marketing so use this time now to fertilize your garden with...well...ok...nevermind.


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure on which thread to ask this question, but when when we send out the Snark mandated letter plus five pages should they go flat in a 9X12 or trifolded in a No. 10?

I'm thinking trifolded in a No. 10 looks less obtrusive/in-your-face--especially when the agent hasn't specifically given the green light to send sample pages. But what do I know?

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Miss Snark! Just what I wanted to know! I'd been reluctant to ask my agent where she sent my book, thinking that agents all live in dread of Stupid Author Tricks.

The short-story advice would be particularly good in SF/F, except alas that I don't grok short stories - alas, mine always come out like Readers Digested novels.

-- Rick