One of the most exciting days of my life was the day my agent, Alyssa Eisner Henkin, emailed me after reading my entire manuscript and asked to schedule a call to discuss her thoughts.
I could barely contain myself! Could this call actually end with an offer of representation?! (OMGOMGOMGOMG!)
I had spent two years writing three novels, countless hours researching agents to query, double that in time spent on perfecting the query letters, and finally, after everything, I was going to speak to an actual, real-life literary agent sitting in one of those crazy tall buildings in NYC!
After freaking out for a few hours, I decided that I needed a plan. What should I say? What would she ask, and how should I respond?
A friend of mine who had recently had a few of these Calls herself gave me one important piece of advice. “Let her lead. Relax. And enjoy yourself.” Then my friend sent me to a website I had already become very familiar with, suggesting that I study up on the following:
“When Agents Call” http://www.agentquery.com/symposium_the
“When Agents Offer Representation” http://www.agentquery.com/writer_or.asp
Here are a few tips that I can offer based on that first contact with Alyssa:
1. Know your genre. Be familiar with current authors and titles that are in the same
vein as your own manuscript.
2. Do not be afraid of revisions. Be open-minded when the agent is giving you his/her
opinions. (Alyssa’s used the terms “messy” and “needs an overhaul” in regards to
my ms during that first call. It didn't even sting.)
3. Prepare a few questions that you can ask the agent. Think of this as a double
interview. You want to be sure this is a good fit for you as well.
My first call with Alyssa was a dream-come-true kind of experience. She ended up offering me representation during our conversation, and I am so disgustingly lucky to have her on my side.