Saturday, September 13, 2014

Query Question: What do I do with multiple offers

I attended the Pikes Peak Writers Conference and got up my guts to pitch the heck out of my latest manuscript. I got two requests. I was on the plane home with one of the gals and she remembered my pitch, mentioned specifics about the plot that intrigued her, and reminded me to send--which I take as a good sign. I also got to chat with the other NOT about books; we hit it off and hung out for three hours talking about life and giggles. I take it she will remember me too.

With the manuscript now in their hands, I came to the nervous realization that I don't know what I'd do in the {extremely unlikely} instance they both made offers. Is there a way to handle this? Do I just ask for a week to think about it or do I tell them both that the other offered (and should I name names)?

Lastly, how the heck am I supposed to know who I'll work better with? I've chatted with both and thought them perfectly delightful people. Are there things a wise writer should ask before signing on with an agent?

We're all perfectly delightful people when we're out in public. It's how we are in the throes of client despair that you want to hear about.

That's why when you get an offer from any agent, the first thing you do is ask if they are ok with you contacting clients to see what being a client is like. If they say YES, you do so. If they say NO, well, that's not such a good sign.

If someone wants to know what it's like to work with me, I direct them to my client roster on the right hand side of this blog. They can email any one they choose. I don't give the clients a heads up either. If they loath me at the moment the prospect calls, well, ooops.

Generally speaking however, my clients like me and will give a prospect a pretty good idea of what life here in the Reef is like.

Also, there are lists of questions to ask prospective agents. Most of them are designed to weed out the ne'er do wells, and you sure want to do that. Attendance at a conference does NOT mean an agent is good. (Some conferences are more lax about this than others.)

Some years back I did a post about the questions you ask after that. 

And yes, you do this for multiple offers as well.
And you tell an offering agent if there are other offers.
And yes you can tell them who's in the scrum.  


JeffO said...

"I don't know what I'd do in the {extremely unlikely} instance they both made offers. Is there a way to handle this? "

You jump up and down and scream!

Janet Reid said...

My former tor/mente Brooks Sherman used to do that exact thing when he received multiple offers on his clients' manuscripts.

Colin Smith said...

Funny, JeffO--I was thinking pretty much the same thing. Along with downing a few bottles of Newcastle Brown. :)

Julie said...

I just want to say right at the outset that I think you would be wildly entertaining to work with in any capacity. And for ME, that is (as I've already told you) one of only two "cross off my list" factors, the other being "I won't work with stupid." On the other hand, I don't think you - scratch that. One can be wildly entertaining and stupid simultaneously. Just not in a good way.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

Ooh, I yearn for the day "two possible offers" is my delightful dilemma. Paralyzing prospect? Exciting escapade!

(I'll just let myself out...)

Anonymous said...

As we listen for the screams of joy to come, along with the obvious thumping of floorboards, maybe we should also consider that making friends is awesome, but also doesn't mean special treatment?

Don't get me wrong...I'd be screaming and jumping up and down just to be in the PRESENCE of the QOTKU (which could be off putting to say the least), but I don't assume that just b/c we hit it off smashingly meant I shouldn't imagine anything more from this agent perhaps than, "Oh yes, I remember meeting this writer at the Knock YOur Sox Off conference a few months ago. Nice lady. Let's hope she can write."

*party pooper now exiting amidst boos and jeers.*

Anonymous said...

Where did my internal editor go? Corrected sentence:

... just b/c we hit it off smashingly means I shouldn't expect anything more from this agent perhaps than...

*slips on tomato during 2nd exit"

Jed Cullan said...

Brooks isn't the only one who jumps up and down and screams. I've seen Sharky do this, too. Just after she realised there's no more cake.

Janet Reid said...

what poor dead Jed fails to mention is that I was jumping up and down on his head. HE was the one screaming "i'm sorry I stole the cake"

Terri Lynn Coop said...

*doubles cake recipe*
*straps on helmet*


Carolynnwith2Ns said...

I screamed and jumped up and down when Mrs. Richards let ME be the one to decorate the Valentine’s Day Mailbox in third grade.

One offer, I’d faint, two and I’d drop dead. If Janet big deal, people dial the wrong number every day.