December 23, 2010
After The Call: What happens after you sign the contract?
Right after I signed my contract with Agent Jim, I was floating on Cloud Nine. Okay...the term 'Cloud Nine' doesn't do my emotions justice. I was on Cloud Ten! Cloud Eleven! Cloud Twelve even! Suffice to say, I was very, very happy.
And I was also a bit clueless.
Now that I had an agent, I had no idea what I should do. I had done so much research on writing queries, studying publishing trends, refining my agent search, etc. But what happened after I signed on the dotted line? I had no idea.
Should I call Jim up for a chat?
Should I start working on revisions?
Should I send him cupcakes, thanking him profusely for taking me on?
I was fumbling through the darkness. And so, I ended up sending Jim a couple emails to try to get to know him better. Hahaha. He was probably like, "Um, why are you asking me this stuff?" Fortunately, he was very gracious and answered all of my questions with patience.
Looking back now, here are a few things I've learned about what generally happens after you sign your contract.
1.) Celebrate! Rejoice with your friends and family with ample amounts of cake, candy, and champagne!
2.) RELAX! After the initial exuberance faded away, I started worrying and fretting about my newly agented status. Why hadn't Jim replied to me yet? Did my email get lost? Did he lose interest in me already? Did he hate my book now?! Waahhh! Yes, I was a mess... So, relax! Chill out! Realize that your agent has other clients and other responsibilities, like contracts and queries and a life outside of agenting!
3.) Patiently await your revision notes. Generally, it will take a few weeks for your agent to send you the revision notes---perhaps two to three weeks because agents are super busy and because it takes awhile to comb over a manuscript. If your agent doesn't get back to you in the time frame you've discussed, I'd send a gentle email as a reminder. No need to call though! Most likely your agent has been swamped and will get you the notes ASAP.
4.) Work on your next book. Seriously. It will take your mind off of your newly agented manuscript and it will get you excited about a new WIP! At the end of the day, you want to make a career out of writing, right? Then get started on another book!
5.) Dream big! 'Cause once you go out on submission, you're gonna start pulling your hair out again. But for now, you can totally be the next Stephenie Meyer! Hell, the next J.K. Rowling! Revel in this moment. :o)