DON’T PANIC: The Agent Edition

been-writing-logoI know, I know… Telling someone to “Stop panicking” is like telling a person to stop aging, or to stop being hot while walking the strip in Vegas. In August.

Here are a few things I see writers panic about when dealing with agents, and here’s why I think you should not panic in these situations.



  1. Not getting an in person pitch to the agent of your dreams while at a writing conference (well, you’ve never met, but on paper? GOLD). Here’s why you should not panic.
    1. You might end up pitching to another agent that you hit it off with.
    2. You can still query that agent! And mention you were at a writing conference with them. They’ll know you’re serious enough about writing that you’re attending conferences.
    3. Getting feedback at conferences on your book, query, and pitch? All of those things will help you hone the submission package of your manuscript.
  2. I totally met this agent in person and s/he’s amazing!! THEY MUST REPRESENT ME!!
    1. Just because you hit it off as friends, doesn’t mean you’ll make good business partners. Publishing is a business.
    2. An agent picking up a manuscript before it’s ready to send to publishers will do neither of you any good in the long run.
  3. The agent I love most in this world, just REJECTED me.
    1. Is it tacky to say there are other fish in the sea? Because, yeah… You want your agent as excited about your work as you are. (OK, almost as excited).
    2. Remember that being picked up by both agents and editors has so much to do with the right project, in front of the right person, at the right time… That’s a lot of things that need to line up.
    1. I know, I know… This doesn’t seem like a problem until you’re in this position. FIRST OFF, when you get an offer from one, look at the list of agents who might have your full – if you KNOW you’ll pick the agent who offered over some or all of them? Please don’t make them rush to read your MS. If you’re not sure? Be honest and don’t be afraid to ask to hear back within a certain amount of time. (2-3 weeks is pretty standard)
    2. Remember that your relationship with your agent is a career/business relationship. Now, my agent is awesome, encouraging, is ready to chat on the phone when I need to be talked off a ledge. But, I also trust her with my money and helping me make career decisions that could put me on very different paths in the publishing world. Keep this in mind.
    1. There are a lot of posts on this, so I’m going to keep this simple. Your agent is not your boy/girl friend, your spouse, or your family. If the business relationship isn’t working, it doesn’t need to continue. If you’re just feeling meh, really evaluate the pros and cons before doing something rash.
    2. Use common sense. Use friends. This isn’t an easy thing.


So, hey. I know this is pretty basic stuff, but you know what? Sometimes going back to basics is a good thing 🙂

And if nothing else, this is a good reminder that parts of the agent-author relationship is weird. Here’s one of my all-time fav posts on that subject.


~ Jo


Published by Jolene Perry

Hiker. Occasional Yogi. Equestrian. Couch potato. Music lover. Mediocre guitar player. Sailor. Tailor. Home body. Traveler. Enjoys suffering from being interested in everything. Co-founder and instructor at Waypoint Author Academy. Rep'd by Amy Bishop of Dystel, Goderich, and Bourret.

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