Author Topic: Questions to ask agent's other clients  (Read 1205 times)

Offline Tabris

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Questions to ask agent's other clients
« on: June 09, 2010, 10:18:13 AM »
Hi!

The agent I'm in dialogue with has sent me some references (current clients) so I can email them and chat about what she's like as an agent.

What should I ask them?  Obviously I'm not going to say "Do you like her?" because they must. :-)  They also don't know me from anyone and therefore they're not going to badmouth their agent to me even if they do loathe her (ROTFLOL!  But they won't possibly loathe her: she sounds like a wonderful person on the phone.) 

This is the kind of thing I'm thinking of:

- how long a time was it between when you signed as her client and when you went on submission?
- did she recommend revisions for your manuscript before submitting?
- when you contact her, how long does it typically take for her to reply (barring extraordinary circumstances such as being at a conference, hurricanes, alien invasions, maternity leave, etc.)
- was there any way in which you felt she went to bat for you with a publishing house (either during the submission process or after the contract was issued) where the publisher did something confusing or unfair, and she negotiated an acceptable solution?

(I know that's worded badly, but I'm trying to ask if she'll fight for her clients rather than saying, "Well, it sucks to be us.")

- will she be representing your next book as well?
- if you received multiple offers, did she guide you toward one offer as being superior to the others?

Are any of those questions totally out of line?  I know that when you approach a new situation after being burned before, you're going to be looking for signs of the previous problem you had. What am I missing here?

(And also, I don't want to ask personal or private questions. I'm very conscious that if these authors reply, they're doing it out of the goodness of their hearts, not because they have to or because I'm so great that it's an honor just to send me an email.)

THanks!

Offline bodwen

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Re: Questions to ask agent's other clients
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2010, 11:50:47 AM »
Your questions would just about cover my concerns.  I'd ask the person you are interviewing to tell you the story of their first sale with this agent, with special attention paid on who she pitched to.  Did she have an inside track with the executive editors and other major descision makers? Or did she submit to the acquisitions editor and hoped for the best.


Offline MaryL

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Re: Questions to ask agent's other clients
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2010, 01:08:13 PM »
I asked, "What is your favorite thing about your agent," in addition to the nuts and bolts you've covered.
I write as Marissa Clarke and Mary Lindsey for Penguin/Random House and Entangled Publishing
Repped by Kevan Lyon of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency
http://www.marissaclarke.com

Offline Tabris

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Re: Questions to ask agent's other clients
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2010, 01:23:29 PM »
Thank you! I like both those ideas. They're neutral/positive and open-ended.