What to Ask a Prospective Literary Agent When They Offer You Representation

Woman on phoneTHE CALL has arrived! Congratulations.Aside from the normal combination of elation and disbelief, you may experience some other side-effects, such as: pacing in circles until the carpet has wore off and keeping a bucket around because you just might puke any second now.Tell yourself to get it together! THE CALL awaits and you have important questions to ask this prospective agent. This is after all, a business relationship. You must be clear as to what this relationship will entail before you sign the contract.These are the questions I asked my agent during THE CALL. The list may seem long, but my agent actually commented on how grateful she was that I had done my homework before our meeting.

How I got my fairy godmother – or what some call a literary agent.

If an agent refuses to answer any of your questions, you may want to think long and hard if this is the person you want to represent your best interest.

What to Ask a Prospective Literary Agent When They Offer You Representation:
  • What do you think of the manuscript? What revisions do you have in mind?

  • What is your process for editorial changes? Developmental changes?

  • How do you collaborate with your clients in new projects? Are you involved in the manuscript development?

  • Will I be working solely with you, or do you have an associate or assistant?

  • How involved are you in career planning and marketing?

  • Do you work with a publicist?

  • What happens if you can't sell this manuscript?

  • Would you still represent me if at some point I wrote outside of my current genre?

  • What is your submission strategy?

  • Do you have an idea which houses/editors do think will be a good fit for this manuscript?

  • How do you handle rejections during the submission process?

  • What is your communication style?  What is your average turn-around for revisions on a new project?

  • What is your client load? Do you see this number growing significantly?

  • What happens if you were no longer able to represent my work?  What if I'm in the middle of the submission process?

  • How do you handle subsidiary rights? Do you see potential for my manuscript in this regard?

  • What are your commission rates?  Are they the standard 15% domestic and 20% foreign/film?

  • How do you process and disburse client funds?

  • Will you bill me for any submission costs (supplies, etc)?

  • What do you expect of your clients in a given year?  What makes for an ideal agent-author relationship?

  • What if another client and I approached you with a similar idea?  How would you move forward in that situation?

Here are other posts I found helpful:

What Can I Expect of My Agent?

Questions to ask your agent

THE CALL or, What to Ask a Literary Agent When Offered Representation

Best of luck with your new agent!Mayra