I entered a twitter pitch contest last month that resulted in three agents asking for my full. I was blown away by the response, but I sent my book baby away with a quick prayer and settled in to wait. And then a few days ago...an agent contacted me to schedule a phone call to discuss an R&R.
I am over the moon with happiness. I am also on hamster wheel overdrive. After panicking for a few days, I calmed down and looked up info about R&R's. I feel a tad bit better, but I have a few questions I can't find the answer to. Should I offer the agent an exclusive while I work on revisions? (1) I know your policy on exclusives, but this feels a little different...she's taking time to work with me one on one, so I'm not sure if I should still send out queries. What about twitter contests? I'm currently knee-deep in one, so I feel like this is murky territory.
Also, it seems like phone call R&R's are kind of rare. From an agent's point of view, do you do phone call R&R's or email ones? (2) Does this mean there are a ton of problems with the book and it would be easier to talk them out than send suggestions in an email? (3) Or am I overthinking it? (I'm overthinking it, aren't I) (4/5)
(3) Sort of
(4/5) of course you are, but you're a writer. It's what you do.
Ok, let's get down to details. In reverse order:
(3) Does this mean there are a ton of problems with the book?
Sometimes it's easier just to chat about revisions that write out a whole long email. It's more helpful sometimes to hear what the writer is thinking, and have her able to ask me questions. It doesn't mean there are ton of problems. It probably means there are a few, but something the agent thinks can be fixed. (It's not a given that all problems in manuscripts can be fixed)
(2) do you do phone call R&R's or email ones?
I do emails but that's by choice. I like to have a written record of what I asked for. Recently one of my colleagues mentioned she just didn't want to write a long email so asked the writer to have a phone convo instead. Both are used; there's no one better way.
(1) Should I offer the agent an exclusive while I work on revisions?
Never offer an exclusive. Never. I know you sometimes can't resist but RESIST. It's never in your best interest. If an agent asks, it's hard to say no, I understand, but at the very least you can duct tape your beak shut about offering one. (Don't make me come over there and gnaw on you.)
You should continue to query and whatever else you're doing to get eyeballs on your manuscript while you revise with this agent.
It's entirely possible an agent will suggest changes you think are bilge water. It's also possible you'll have second or third thoughts about whether you want to work with this agent.
This revision time is where you two get to know each other. Don't commit before you know what you're getting, and an exclusive is a commitment.
Some of my colleagues have been burned by authors doing revisions with them, then querying the freshened manuscript and signing elsewhere. I look on that as a bullet dodged frankly. An author willing to do that is someone I probably wouldn't want to work with, but it rankles agents when it happens. (And it poisons the well for that author forever as far as I'm concerned.)
What that means for you is that if you think the revisions are bilgewater, or the agent isn't a good fit, you don't keep the conversation going. You don't take up her time if you know you're not willing to sign if she offers.