Cue: that wretched song from "Annie"*

A Snarkling is looking, and looking, and looking before leaping:

How long can one reasonably (and politely) keep an agent waiting, once the agent has offered representation? I have an offer from an agent I feel pretty good about,but he's the first agent I've had any extended conversation with. I've gotten some positive feedback from other agents, and have some opportunities to meet with others-- in a few months.

For various reasons, the agent who's offered representation wouldn't be able to do terribly much for me between now and then (project is not ready to be shopped immediately), but it feels weird to say hey, I need a few months. Would it piss you off if someone did that to you, or would you respect that they were taking time to consider all of their options?

Months? You have to wait for the spring thaw before snowmobiling over the chasm to get to the corner store and a telephone?

You don't need to MEET agents to get a sense of whether it's a good fit. Talk to them on the phone, read their websites, read the books they've handled.

It's not so much a matter of pissing an agent off, cause really, this is a business. It's not like he proposed marriage and you said you had to date a few more guys to make sure he was a better than average kisser.

Here's the risk you run by sitting around: his list will fill up. Agents make their money selling projects yes, but if we're sitting on ten unsold projects come spring, we're not going to be in a position to take on one more no matter how enticing it is. I've had this happen to people who wanted to interview a gazillion agents then came back to me. I had to say no cause I'd taken on two writers in the meantime and I was not prepared to take on anyone else.

Get your skates on. You've got people interested. Figure out who will work well with you and then move to the next step. Waiting around isn't in your best interest.

* Tomorrow. ya ya, now you've got it in your head. Join the crowd.


Harry Connolly said...

Just as you should not go out on a date with someone you would not kiss at the first reasonable opportunity, I suspect you shouldn't offer to go into business with someone you are not ready to sign on with. If there's someone you want more, you should get a yes or no from them first, then move on to your consolation date.

Not that this helps the person with the question.

Maria said...

I dunno. I met a lot of agents at conferences. Like any crowded room, I'd say about 2 out of...15 or at most 20 were people I'd want to work with. And that's stretching it because of course I need an agent more than an agent needs me. I'm with Snark. Unless there is something about this agent that doesn't ring true or something that bothers your guts, don't pass just because something better might be around the corner. Read the posts on this site from agent conferences. Note that Miss Snark has never signed anyone from a conference. You'll be competing with a room full of wannabes at a conference and the agents can't sort good work out during that time. All they will do is request a partial--and that means MORE waiting. Not to mention that they will request partials from just about anyone that talks to them just to be polite (unless you look like a waiter, in which case they will request GIN.)

I have writer friends that didn't end up staying with the first agent they signed with--they went to conferences and met others--talked to them and got to know them. Then, when it didn't work out with the first agent, they had their next pick picked out. You really can have the best of both worlds here--you sign with guy1 and give it a go. Meanwhile, you go to a conference LEARN tons, meet people and get recommendations on agents from other people. If Guy1 doesn't work out, well, you've got some idea where you want to shop your stuff next.

Bernita said...

A bird in the hand gives you, at worst, a dirty hand,but it may give you a golden egg.
The siren song of birds in the bush leads down the garden path...
Have I mixed enough?
PS. I hate that song...