So what do you do now? Well, you can do your happy dance and jump at the opportunity, or you can take a deep breath and think about things. Was this agent your first choice? Who else has a full? A partial?
The polite and professional thing to do is to speak with the agent (tomorrow I’ll talk about “the call”) but tell them you need a week or two to decide. Then alert all the agents who have a full or partial that you’ve received an offer of representation and would like to give them the opportunity to finish your manuscript before you make your final decision. Give them a time frame. Two weeks is probably the most you want to keep the original agent waiting.
A couple of things could happen. 1) They can say that they are still interested and would like some time to finish. Once you let them know someone else is interested, they’ll put your manuscript to the top of their list. Or 2) They’ll pass because they don’t have the time or do not want to get into an agent race.
Once they read the manuscript, they still might pass, but it’s good to keep your options open. An agent may ask who made the original offer. This may seem rude, but really, they just want to know who their competition is and that you’re not being scammed by a fake agent. I would say tell them. There’s no reason not to.
Even if you loved that original agent, speak to each one who wants to represent you. There’s a tendency to go with the first agent who shows interest, but it’s good for you, as a writer, to hear what multiple agents have to say. I actually went with the last agent I spoke with. You never know who is going to be best for you until you weigh all your options.
Tomorrow – The Call - What to ask and what to know