It’s Just Business Tuesday!

October 7, 2008 | Karin's Blog | 6 comments



Dear Karin,


If a person got an offer from an agent, and after letting all the other agents reading the manuscript know about the offer, another agent said she would give an answer on a certain day.  That day passed without a word, so the writer said yes to the first agent.  Right after the writer had that conversation, the second agent called and made an offer.  What would be the appropriate thing to do in that situation? 


Signed, Too Many Agents To Handle!


First of all I’m a little confused about the first agent, let’s call her Agent A, who offered representation.  Was this the agent the author wanted?  I’m getting the feeling maybe it wasn’t because she gave Agent B more time when she asked for it.  I’m making an assumption here that the author did not pounce at Agent A’s offer of representation so that she could give the other agents notice and the opportunity to make an offer.  If that is the case, shame on the author for settling.


If that is not the case and she wanted Agent A and was jumping for joy when she made the offer, at that time the author should have contacted all of the agents who had the submission and taken it off the table period.  Agent B was given an opportunity to read and offer in a specified time-frame, she dropped the ball.  Oh, well.  She who hesitates, well, we know what happens to those of us who hesitate.


Now, since I did not answer the question, I will now:  If the author is happy with Agent A, she needs to let Agent B know that since the deadline passed she went ahead and signed with another agent.  Ya snooze, ya loose. But I’m just wondering if the author is happy with her agent choice or did she accept from the first agent who offered.












  1. J. Carson Black

    I think you’re right on, Karin.

    It’s a tough thing, when you don’t have a lot to go by regarding agents. You might see a list of their clients, or know some of their clients, and know if they’re in your general ballpark, but the problem is, agents and authors are people. Sometimes they don’t hit it off. Or maybe you want the “big” agent so much you don’t realize you might be the little fish in a gigantic pond.

    I guess I’m saying there’s so much uncertainty surrounding this important pick, it’s easy to see why authors end up second-guessing themselves. They’re bombarded with “what ifs”. (Been there.)

    The clarity is in seeing this as a business proposition, and you as the author are required to handle it with grace and firmness. It’s tough to turn down an agent when they’ve offered to represent you—bird in the hand and all that. But it’s worse if you leave one agent dangling while you’re trying to get another on the hook.

    You can’t pull a fast one. It will get around.

    It all comes down to the author. You have to know what *you* want, and have your own agenda, so you’ll be ready to make a decision when necessary.

    At any rate, that’s what I keep telling myself. 😉

  2. Karin

    You nailed it, Jake. Knowing what you want and who you want up front is most of the battle, and I don’t suggest anyone say yes immediately at an offer, ok, I did, but it was my dream agent. Funny thing though, the second agent on my three agent list emailed me while I was accepting from dream agent and offered. I immediately emailed her and said, thank you but I have accepted representation.

  3. J. Carson Black

    You’ve been running a regular business for a long time. I think that helps.

  4. Karin

    Jake, running a business certainly helped, but when I started out I made all of the regular mistakes and even invented some. I knew noone and had zero guidance. When I think of all of the gross faux pas I made, I cringe! I’m very grateful I had to do the leg work and the writing work and all of the other work that goes before an agent. I grew more savvy along the way and when the time came that I knew it was really time, I made the right choice.

    It’s so scary out there in agent land. There are so many good ones, but so many bad ones and even the good ones may not be the right fit. Authors should be able to date an agent first! lol, I can see agents running for the hills at that thought. Heh, a few authors too.

  5. Edie

    Good luck to the person asking the question. You gave good advice. I don’t know what I would have done in that situation.

  6. Amanda

    Oooooh, I see we love color font now. LOL I hope the person asking got the agent they wanted. It is a scary world (publishing) and you have to trust all those you are working with.

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