*Or: How Not To Get Your Hopes Up.
Sorry. Can’t be done. The hopes – they will go up.
A full request is a really good sign. If you get one, CONGRATULATE YOURSELF!! Maybe it came straight from a really solid query. Maybe it came as a result of a really solid partial. However you slice it – it’s a really good sign.
It is not, however, a sure thing.
Here are some things I’ve learned along the way. Maybe they will help you manage your own expectations:
– don’t second-guess yourself in relation to how long the agent has had your full. Maybe they’re super busy, and that’s why they haven’t immediately read it. These guys have real clients that earn them real money, you know. I hear clients are real time-sucks. 😉
– that being said, do send them a nudge after three months.
– do take the time to learn as much as you can about the agent and the agency while you’re waiting. This is of course a second, deeper layer of research…because you researched them to begin with, right? Right?
– do assemble your “questions to ask when I get THE CALL” and keep them in a handy spot, in case THE CALL catches you off guard.
– don’t torture yourself by reading blog posts by writers who have been newly signed by said agent. Seriously. Take it from me.
– do occasionally peruse Querytracker.com and Absolutewrite.com to see what’s going on in that agent’s world. Maybe they’re swamped. Maybe they’re requesting lots of fulls and will take a while to churn through them.
– don’t expect feedback. There isn’t a rule that says the more pages you send the more feedback you’re entitled to. If you get feedback, consider yourself super-lucky.
– no matter what happens, do keep their contact information. If/when you write a new manuscript – start querying it with the folks who requested fulls from you before. Obviously something you’re doing is resonating with them – and maybe they’ll be receptive to your next project too. Everything I’ve read about agents tells me that these guys have awesome memories…so drop your own name! “You were kind enough to request a full of my manuscript XXXXX, and as such I thought you might be interested in XXXX, my newest project.”
– do start a new project. A short story is a lovely plan – a quick-hit success story that you can add to your query letter. Something to boost your writing bio. Or even a new WIP. Keep up the writing habit. Do not look at the idiot box! Stop watching full seasons of Mad Men and/or Battlestar and/or Breaking Bad! Oh wait…that’s me.
– do be patient. I know. Sometimes it feels like patience is for losers, but you’ve just got to suck it up about that. Trying to get an agent is like trying to sell a house in the worst buyers’ market in 100 years. Oops – isn’t that what we’re in now?
Well, here’s hoping you’re not in the real estate market and the agent-seeking market at the same time.
If you’ve got your own suggestions to add, please let me know!