Monday, 1 October 2012

So you've got an agent. Now what? A short checklist.

By Candy Gourlay

Lots of talk about how to get an agent last week here and  here. Who knows, some writer who attended one of these events may this very minute be signing up with an agent.

(Speaking of which, congratulations to Julienne Durber over at our sister blog, Demention, who's just signed with Gemma Cooper of the Bent Agency! Woo hoo!)

Once you've got an agent, you're truly on the brink. You're as almost there as almost there ever could be.

But now what?

Here are some helpful tips from your been-there-done-that NFTS reporter:

1 Now is not the time to stop working on your craft. The quest is not over. Will it ever be? Ahh. That's the thing you see. In this business, evolution is never-ending. Stop developing and you're left behind.

2 Tune up your public profile. Well yeah, just in case your agent strikes gold first time. And if, like many of us, your agent doesn't get you an instant deal, it's good practice. Spring clean your Facebook profile. Make sure you've got a good profile pic on all the usual channels (go to Gravatar, to get a universal profile pic). Spruce up any info about you online. Start working on that website. Volunteer to guest blog somewhere. Review a few books on a few websites. Add that precious line '(Your Name) is represented by (Your Agent)' to your bio.

3 Tune down your expectations. Fame? Fortune? Sorry, it ain't instant. Don't give up the day job. At this stage, it's just another level of submission ... and rejection. Here's a video I made back when I realized that agents spent a lot of time getting rejected too.



To watch the video you need a password which is iwantanagent

4 Be discreet. It's not just you against the world now. You've got an ally. The days of social moaning are over. Don't jeopardize your agent's strategic submissions by shooting off about random niggles, doubts and worries on Facebook, Twitter or what have you. And don't go shouting to the world about the manuscript you're shopping around. You don't want to help your competitors with their publication timings. Besides, the first time a publisher sees your manuscript should be a wonderful surprise. Don't spoil it.

5  Manuscript safely with your new agent, what to do? Well just in case your agent isn't successful in finding it a publisher, do not delay: double your chances by writing another book.

6 NEW! Okay, thought of something else, something absolutely VITAL, as I watched Adam Lancaster win the School Librarian of the Year Award today (Adam, so well deserved! More news in a future blog post) ... from now on, you, dear future author, are an apprentice to the world of books - learn EVERYTHING you can about it. Booksellers, librarians and libraries, the literacy curriculum, Amazon, ebooks, EVERYTHING. This is your world now.

That's all I could come up with off the top of my head. Anyone else got the experience (bitter or otherwise) to offer more advice on this one?




19 comments :

  1. This is brilliant advice as usual Candy. I'd add this:
    6: Be professional, even though you may not have deadlines, treat your writing like the job it is. It's not just you invested in you.
    7: Don't be scared to talk to your agent - they're on your side.
    Kathryn Evans, Represented by Sophie Hicks at Ed Victor Ltd.
    (I NEVER get tired of writing that)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YES! Brilliant additional advice!

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    2. I'd add,
      8: support them in their efforts to sell your book. If they need a pitch, write a good one. If you're asked for anything that will be presented to an editor, make it as professional as possible. Don't give them extra work.
      Maureen Lynas, Represented by The Eve White Agency.
      (Me too, Kathryn!)

      Delete
  2. I love the video - the advice is good too - but the video? Fantastic. Those kids cracked me up :)

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  3. Those kids are great! Great advice - I think all us writers could hear/see/be reminded of this more often.

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  4. Great advice Candy, and i love the video, it looks like you all had a lot of fun making it!

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  5. Good stuff, Candy, esp as I am currently querying a few of the agents from the party last week. I am already working on next books, so won't be sitting down thinking about it most of the time.

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    Replies
    1. That's the spirit, Julie! Best of luck with the submissions!

      Delete
  6. I love that film! The best advice I can give is KEEP WRITING! It's the only thing that will keep you going.

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  7. Great advice Candy, and thanks for the name check. A printout this list is now on the wall!

    No actual advice to add, just the comment that I started my next book straight away as a way to stop me worrying about what was going on with the first one!

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    Replies
    1. Well, I wanted the world to know that a brilliant author is about to be discovered! Congrats again, Julienne!

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  8. Hmm I seem to have missed out the agent step, but just about everything in your list still applies! Lovely post, Candy!

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    Replies
    1. you've done amazingly without an agent, paula ... which is food for thought for us all.

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    2. Sheer dumb luck! (as Professor McGonagall would say!)

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  9. Some great home-grown talent there, Candy! Saving this for (hopefully!) future reference.

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  10. Great cartoon, too! All perfect advice, but I'd revise Number five -- have the next book ready before you go pitching agents! Number three should be in the works, too.

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  11. I am very late to this but that video is the greatest thing and your daughter (I presume) is adorable :)

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