Wednesday, March 17, 2010

More on when I want to hear from you with a cameo by Slithery Barbara Poelle

Further to the post below on When Do I Want To Hear From You a commenter posted this:

There was a debate about a specific situation on twitter the other day, which is a variation on your point 5. What if a writer has sent you a query, hasn’t heard anything back from you (30 days haven’t passed), but has received an offer of representation from another agent. Would you want that writer to let you know about the other offer, even if you haven’t gotten to the query yet?



Interesting question. The answer depends on whether the query writer has decided to accept the offer.

If the author has decided to accept, and has only queried me (not sent a full) then no. If I request a full, then the author can reply that s/he has accepted an offer. If I send a rejection, the author can smugly smile and think "you think you're so smart Shark, ha on you."

However, IF the author is uncertain about accepting then yes. I can give the querier a yes or no pretty quickly at the query stage so if I am interested in reading the full, and there's enough time to do it, it's worth knowing about.

Now, I can actually hear all your devilish little minds whirring away here. You're thinking "how about I just email Snookums and tell her I have an offer! That way she'll read my query fast, and maybe request the full since she knows someone else wants it!!"

This is an ill-advised path. For starters, I'm more likely than not to pass on a project even if I like it a lot if I know you've got an agent on the hook. Second, I'm not swayed by someone telling me "another agent" likes this unless I know who it is. And honest to Godiva, you don't want to start telling me slithery Barbara Poelle likes something if she doesn't. She'll carve you up for breakfast sausage and feed you to the shark (yum!)

Does this answer the question?

10 comments:

Kate Halleron said...

Lying to the Shark, or to Snookums, is never a good idea. I can tell, and I've never met either one of them.

Hm. Have they ever been seen together? I wonder. . .

Laurel said...

I presumed that to be the reason you specified that should this occur, you want to know who is considering the project. Because I'm sure no one has ever tried telling you that three other agents are very interested and you should buy now, while supplies last. Ever.

Josin L. McQuein said...

Ha! That is thankfully one mistake I've never made.

*sings* but I know someone who d-i-id.

(all agents have been renamed to protect me from "said author").

Said author got a response from an agent who suggested that another agent might be a better fit, so said author took this to mean there was an implied endorsement by Agent #1 to Agent #2. A2 reached for their phone and called A1; A1 didn't even remember said author's name. A2 wrote said author an angry and instant rejection for trading on A1's name.

Maryann Miller said...

Good advice. Thankfully, most writers are too professional to go down that devious path you outlined, but some desperate folks will do almost anything. That usually comes back to bite said writer in the you-know-what.

Katrina said...

How often do you advise keeping in contact with your agent once you've already been signed and minor edits have begun? I'm guessing each agent is different on this one ...

Bpoelle said...

Breakfast sauuuuuuuuuusage mmmmmmmm

Lisa Katzenberger said...

Janet, thanks for your take on this question!

Joan said...

Hi there!

So if we're unsure about accepting an offer, but had our heart set on an agent (be it the Shark or any other), is it unprofessional to mention the agency or the name of the agent that has offered representation?

You say that unless you know who it is, it's unlikely to make a difference. Is it an acceptable business practice to say "Agent X has offered me representation, but I like you better, so thank you for your time in considering my submission."

That would look odd to me!

Joan said...

Hi there!

So if we're unsure about accepting an offer, but had our heart set on an agent (be it the Shark or any other), is it unprofessional to mention the agency or the name of the agent that has offered representation?

You say that unless you know who it is, it's unlikely to make a difference. Is it an acceptable business practice to say "Agent X has offered me representation, but I like you better, so thank you for your time in considering my submission."

That would look odd to me!

Creative A said...

Interesting post. But now I have a question about this:

"Second, I'm not swayed by someone telling me "another agent" likes this unless I know who it is."

Are you saying that in the situation of contacting other agents who have your partials or fulls or such, that you should actually tell them the name of who gave you the offer? Should we be dropping names here?

-Mandy