Author Topic: 2 most important questions you had for an agent who called you?  (Read 16015 times)

Munley

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2 most important questions you had for an agent who called you?
« on: September 11, 2016, 09:10:46 AM »
Different things are important to different people, I'm sure.

Offline Tigerlily1066

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Re: 2 most important questions you had for an agent who called you?
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2016, 01:23:25 PM »
Indeed, different people have different priorities. Among the important factors for me:

1. What is the length of your contract agreement?
2. What happens if we disagree about the direction of the book (i.e., the agent suggests changes I don't agree with)? For me, the answer I was looking for was, "You're the writer, it's your book. Your decision wins."

Offline Tabris

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Re: 2 most important questions you had for an agent who called you?
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2016, 04:16:16 PM »
FIRST, communicaton: How often do you communicate with your clients and at what level do you communicate? How often do you expect to hear from me during submission? How often do you expect to hear from me during downtimes?

SECOND: How will you advocate for me? What happens if a publisher is treating me badly -- how do you handle it?

Offline Aubrey

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Re: 2 most important questions you had for an agent who called you?
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2016, 06:27:55 PM »
Other than questions about the MS at issue, particularly expected changes before going on sub:

What is your average turnaround time for new material? (Mainly because I'd heard horror stories of agents taking months to get back to clients about new things. That would not fly with me.)

Since you specialize in kidlit, do you find situations where your clients compete for editor space? How do you handle that?

Offline jcwrites

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Re: 2 most important questions you had for an agent who called you?
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2016, 07:40:06 PM »
Question No. 1: What day of the month do you cut checks?

Offline Missus Braidyhead

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Re: 2 most important questions you had for an agent who called you?
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2016, 09:51:47 PM »
1. How often do you usually communicate with writers while they're on sub, and are you willing to adjust to what I have in mind? (The background here is that I didn't want to get immediate notices of rejections--I'd rather save them up for a specified date.)

2. What happens if you really don't like a project I'm working on?

Offline Sarah Ahiers (Falen)

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Re: 2 most important questions you had for an agent who called you?
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2016, 08:26:05 AM »
1. Communication. The specific question varied from agent to agent, but mostly relating to how they communicate, both during sub and during the doldrums.

2. I think now it would be something along the lines of future career building. Talking about the other things I'm working on and gauging their excitement for that.
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Munley

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Re: 2 most important questions you had for an agent who called you?
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2016, 06:27:48 PM »
These responses are interesting and helpful.

Lots to think about.

Offline jamjelly

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Re: 2 most important questions you had for an agent who called you?
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2016, 12:36:13 PM »
I really liked hearing what they thought were comp titles for my book and why. It gave a lot of insight into what they were connecting with.

I also liked hearing explanations for their submission process. Of course they didn't go into a ton of specific detail, but it gave me an idea as to how each would explain things to me, and the amount of thought that had been put in to me/my work already.

Good luck if you have a pending phonecall!

Munley

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Re: 2 most important questions you had for an agent who called you?
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2016, 03:38:24 PM »
I had an agent discuss my comp title on the submission of an earlier book, and I found that helpful, as well.

No, I'm not exactly close to expecting a call, but I'm much closer to sending out queries and I'm being an optimist. I'll send my first 5 queries out and get a call. :up:

Just want to get some of my priories clear in my own head before that. All of these responses to my questions have really made me think about what's most important to me.

How (and how often) the agent communicates, worded in various ways, is something that seems important to everybody, and it will be for me also. But I'm thinking about the other things people mentioned, too. Thanks for your reply.

Offline MaryL

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Re: 2 most important questions you had for an agent who called you?
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2016, 05:44:52 PM »
For me (and I'm on my third agent--most recent switch because agent didn't rep adult projects), the most telling question is, "What about my work appealed to you the most?"

You can hear it in their voices. If they really love your project (which is critical), you will know it. If they are vague or there is no change of tone, they offered for some other reason--like you nudged saying there was another offer and they didn't want to miss out. Also, communication is my second concern. I can find stats and agency data online. For me, a connection to my work and communication are the most critical.
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Munley

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Re: 2 most important questions you had for an agent who called you?
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2016, 09:12:06 PM »
For me (and I'm on my third agent--most recent switch because agent didn't rep adult projects), the most telling question is, "What about my work appealed to you the most?"


Good question. I'll put that high on my list. I sure wouldn't want to have to try to stir up more enthusiasm in a lukewarm agent who is supposed to be going to bat for my work. Thanks!

Offline alexatd

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Re: 2 most important questions you had for an agent who called you?
« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2016, 02:47:17 PM »
I'm on my second go-round on the merry-go-round, so when I had my two calls, one BIG thing I knew I needed to know that I would have never asked first time around:

a) Will you share the complete submission list with me, including editors, and should we get offers/go to auction, how involved in that process will I be? and b) once I have a deal and am working with the editor, how involved in our relationship will you be?

This is because now I have a lot more friends who have publishing deals and have gone through/are in the process, and it blew my mind to discover that many agents WILL NOT share the complete details of their sub list with authors (b/c they don't trust them not to stalk editors, etc.) and that many agents micro-manage their clients' relationships with their editors (must be copied on all emails, etc.). And the auction thing: I had a friend who was given very few details while the auction was happening, and ultimately had to really push to be able to talk to the editors/make her own choice. I knew I didn't want to work with a micro-managing agent who didn't trust me, as the client, to be business savvy enough to have a say in my own career. Transparency is hugely important to me. (first agent was completely transparent and I loved that; it's not why we parted ways)

I also asked about specific submission ideas to make sure we were on the same page, re: publishers and career direction.
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Munley

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Re: 2 most important questions you had for an agent who called you?
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2016, 04:57:30 PM »
I never occurred to me that an agent would withhold any of the submission information from an author. I wouldn't like that at all.

It would make more sense to me to have all of that information shared as well as come to some understanding with the agent on how to proceed. If some aspect of proceeding is very important to an agent, I'd respect that if it's something we had come to a mutual understanding on.

Offline alexatd

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Re: 2 most important questions you had for an agent who called you?
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2016, 06:17:53 PM »
I never occurred to me that an agent would withhold any of the submission information from an author. I wouldn't like that at all.

I know! That's why my mind was slightly blown. But there are definitely some agents who are a bit control freak-y... I can think of a few in particular who also don't like their clients to suggest imprints/editors to sub to because "that's my job." Like, okay, but it's my career? Happily, I've never had this issue but knowing this made me cross a few agents I heard are this persnickety off my list. Like, I'm not going to backseat drive my agent... but I might have opinions on where the car is going? And telling you only imprints, no editors... same thing. To a lot of authors it's not a big deal, nor a dealbreaker, but I've been kicking around a long time and I want to know who the editors are. Soooo now when I give writers who are fresher to the experience advice, I always advise them to think about transparency: how vital is it to them to know everything and/or have a say in how things are done? Not all agents are into a truly collaborative client relationship, and it's pretty important to know!
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