If you get a ‘yes’ from an agent, send an urgent email to all other agents you are querying, letting them know that you’ve had an offer. This should catapult you to the very top of their to-read lists, and (hopefully) you’ll end up having multiple offers that you can choose between. It sounds crazy – but it really happens!
Choose the agent you like the best. This could be the one who represents your favourite authors. It could be someone you can go in and meet. For me, I chose the agent who was most passionate about my writing and really seemed to understand my style.
Sign a contract with them. These are all pretty standard, but never, ever give money upfront to a literary agent. That’s not what they do.
Work with them editorially to whip your book into shape. Some agents love this part and will spend years working with a writer. Other times, they will hire an editor on their behalf. In either case, expect some editing!
Now comes submission. Your agent will take your manuscript and send it to multiple publishers. You probably won’t hear very much from anyone at this stage and I can tell you, it is one-hundred times worse than even submitting to agents(!) was. Your agent will know this and will hopefully do all they can to help you through it.
When you get interest from a publisher, they might organise a meeting with you and them. They will also try to get other interest to use in an auction. They will try everything to get the offer to the best it possibly can be by raising the advance, negotiating the rights and questioning the royalties.
Once you’ve signed with a publisher, an agent will act as a go-between for any awkward conversations. They will always be on your side and they will be with you for the duration – not just that first book.
Want to know more? Our own Holly Seddon will be speaking about getting her agent during a webinar as part of the new Getting Published Day. Hope to see you there!
Meanwhile – what happened when you got your agent? Or what are your biggest questions on how agents work? Share them below!