When Will My Agent Contact Me About My Book Deal?

It’s always exciting to hear from your agent that a publisher is interested in your story and is considering offering you a contract. Right? Of course it is! Once you hear those cherished words, it’s hard to wait for the next step.

An unpublished author recently wrote me:

I have an agent who has always responded to my emails within a few minutes. Recently, he let me know that a publisher would be making an offer soon. Now he isn’t answering my emails. I’ve emailed him a couple of times this week, and there’s no response. This is unusual for him. Why would he stop communication now when he’s always been so good to answer me promptly? I contacted his assistant, and she said he’s been in the office and is fine. She forwarded my email to him, and I still haven’t heard from him. I am nervous the deal will fall through. How long is the process from a “verbal” to something in writing? 

My answer:

Try not to stress out, it’s only been a week. Publishing moves slowly. Often the time between “we’re planning to make an offer” and the offer actually coming is several weeks.

Could they change their mind? Sure. But it can’t “fall through” because there’s nothing to fall through yet. In any case, there’s nothing you can do or not do to affect whether the offer comes, or when it comes. Your agent was notifying you of the publisher’s intent to make an offer so that you’d be pleased and encouraged—and wait patiently to hear from him again. You can be sure he will contact you when there is something to say. Continuing to contact him is probably not helpful. There’s no reason for you to suddenly be in panic mode, when he has proven that he will communicate with you when necessary.

So take a few deep breaths and turn your attention elsewhere. Don’t email him again until he contacts you.

Hope that helps!

Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Gardner Literary. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


  1. Pat Iacuzzi on June 27, 2018 at 9:52 PM

    Hi Rachelle–

    (Hi Andrew–fancy meeting you here!) I don’t have to worry about the business at the end of the day coming-eth; I’m ADD and have the attention span of an ant. But to counteract–have a lot of patience–thank the Lord!

  2. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser on June 27, 2018 at 12:51 PM

    A passage from Julius Caesar (Act V, Scene 1) cometh to mind:

    O, that a man might know
    The end of this day’s business ere it come!
    But it sufficeth that the day will end,
    And then the end is known.