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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Agent Resources {Part 2} #agent #resources #LiteraryAgent

Are you looking for the first post in this series? If so, you can find it *here*

This week, let's discuss the questions you should ask anyone you are considering as an agent. Yes, you should ask questions. Yes, they should expect you to. Any agent that doesn't have time to answer your questions, isn't going to have time to properly be your agent. You want to be able to have good, open communication.

Of course, they are busy, so you do need to expect a period of waiting. Most can't answer your request immediately  And, again, if they can, I would offer a word of caution. Are they really that good? Do they maybe have an assistant so that you don't sit waiting? Or do they just not represent enough authors to be busy?

Is a new agent bad? Not necessarily. But you will need to weigh the pros and cons. Is an agent that's not busy, but has been doing it a while a bad thing? Again, not necessarily, but you'll want to be sure you investigate.

Quite honestly, I see no harm in  asking for references if they don't have an available list for you. I also would absolutely require a list of authors they have worked with {keeping in mind this list is just for you and they are NOT references and cannot therefore be contacted at random}.

The following is a brief list of questions I would be certain to ask. You can ask more or less depending on your needs and curiosity  However, be sure to ask some questions, don't just accept the first person you come in contact with. Also, don't solely accept an agent on a friend's work. Yes, word of mouth is wonderful and it's great to hear another author has had a wonderful experience - however, as with publishers - one person's diamond is another person's dirt {sounds terrible, but it's true}.

Keep in mind, that not only will you have a publishing contract, you'll also have a contract with an agent, should you decide to hire one.

*How long have you been an agent?
*How many clients do you currently represent? How many more are you looking for?
*What publishers do you regularly work with?
*Are you a published author? Do you currently write? {I'm not saying not to sign with an agent that is also an author, but I would be cautious. Should I sign with an agent, personally, I'd not want them to also be writing.}
*Why do you want to work with me?
*How often do you do author updates?
*How long will you, through your contract, be representing me?
*Will I only be working with you, or do you have assistants and such that may respond or contact me on your behalf?
*Will I be represented on a book or series basis? Or will all my books go through you?
*What is your success rate with my genre?
*Do you assist with career planning and marketing? Will you promote my work?
*Do you work with a publicist?
*Who have you represented?
*Do you have references of authors you have worked with that will allow me to contact them?
*Will you update me as to whom you have submitted to? Will you also keep me up to date on acceptances and rejections?
*Are choices mine or do you make them on my behalf?
*What is your percent?
*What is your payment procedure? {Here, I should note how this works. The publisher pays your agent, they take out their fee and then the agent pays you.}
*What is your agent-author relationship and expectations?
*How much time do you spend looking at queries? Do you read them completely?
*Will you respond to my query even if it's to tell me you are not interested? {A problem with so many want to be writers, agents, if not interested, simply don't reply.}
*What is your standing on a series? What is your standing on stand alone books? {This can be important. Some only really want to work with a series. In this case, you'll want a good pitch for each book and to have two or more complete. Yes, one would probably get your though, but I'd make sure I was well into book 2.}

I hope you'll join me next week as I discuss what your agent should be doing for you.

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