QUESTIONS TO ASK AGENTS

As you schedule conferences you can attend during the upcoming year, make sure to find those that offer what you want. For those who are looking for an agent, here’s a list of questions to ask when you get that appointment and sit down for your five or ten minutes.
Don’t forget to be businesslike, not cutesy, be polite and offer your business card and nothing else unless it’s asked for. And by all means remember, you are interviewing someone you want to hire. Once you’ve made your pitch and the agent asks you to send something, ask the following questions. If you don’t have time, make sure when you are contacted and offered a contract, that you get answers to these questions:
1. How long have you been an agent? Tell me about your path to becoming an agent.
2. Are you a writer yourself? (Writing experience can give an agent a better perspective. However, if they’re immersed in numerous projects of their own, it can possibly mean that the agent isn’t totally focused on getting your book published.)
3. How many other clients do you represent? Will this stay approximately the same? (Some agents have short lists and like to keep it that way so they can focus on each client. Others sign many writers in hopes of placing as many books as possible.)
4. Will you be handling my work, or will there be someone else on your staff with whom I will work?
5. Can you tell me about a few recent sales you’ve made? (Though an agent’s track record is important, new agents can make up for lack of experience through enthusiasm, time, and hard work. Also, keep in mind that you can track agents’ sales on sites such as Publishers Marketplace, so you may be able to skip this question.)
6. What publishers do you have in mind for my project?
7. How frequently do you update authors? Do you have a preference for our communication? Will you keep me abreast of where and when my work was submitted—and the outcome? (Don’t enter into a relationship with someone whose communication style will leave you frustrated. A good way to determine this is to ask the agent to describe the ideal client. Is this you?)
8. How close is my book to being ready for submission? Do you foresee much editing and rewriting before it’s submitted? Will you be working with me on this?
9. What co‑agents do you work with for foreign rights, film rights and other subrights? Is there someone in‑house who specializes in this? Can you tell me about some recent successes selling subrights of a project?
10. Why do you want to represent me? (This will give you a great sense on what they like about you and the project.)
And have fun out there.
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About veldabrotherton

I'm primarily a writer, but I also speak and teach workshops and co-chair a large critique group. My brand is SexyDarkGritty and that applies to my western historical romances, mysteries, women's fiction and horror novels. After almost 30 years in this business, I still have something to learn and attend conferences to network with other writers, publishers, editors and agents.
This entry was posted in pitching agents, questions for an agent, Velda Brotherton, writing, writing conferences. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to QUESTIONS TO ASK AGENTS

  1. Thanks for sharing all of these thoughts Velda. They are really invaluable, especially to writers who have not done too many conferences before. I intend to show the site to a friend who is planning to attend MWG, a first for her.

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