I have to be honest, I just want an agent to say yes, I will represent you. I’ve had my fill of rejections, but I know, just like anything else in life, you need to do your homework.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions of a potential agent. Knowing the agent’s expectations in advance of agreeing to work together will help you avoid a nasty breakup.
Find someone who believes in your work, who loves your voice, and whose vision for your future matches your own.
Questions to ask:
- Does the agent require a signed agent-author agreement? If so, ask for a copy in advance and review it carefully. Also, ask for a copy of the agency clause they will place in the publishing contract.
- How does the agent prefer to keep authors informed of submissions?
- What happens in the event of the agent’s death? Verify that the agent has provisions in place to protect your rights.
- How many authors do the agent and agency represent?
- Does the agent offer editorial feedback? Some authors like for the agent to critique their work.
- Does the agent offer career planning?
- Does the agent handle sub-rights, ancillary rights, and/or movie rights?
- What novels have the agent or agency sold in the past year?
- What is the agents normal turnaround time for responding to e-mails and phone calls?
- How can the agent-author contract be severed?
There’s no right or wrong answer to these questions with the exception of question 8. The purpose of asking questions is to provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision and to clarify expectations for yourself and your agent.
Something to think about.