Monday, November 17, 2008

Questions for an Agent

Since I’m about to begin the great agent search once again, I thought I’d share my list of questions I have prepared to ask the agent when I get the call *insert positive thinking here* and because the last time I got the call, I wasn’t prepared and babbled like an idiot.

About the Agent
  • How long have you been an agent?
  • How much longer do you intend to stay in the business?
  • Who else will be working on your behalf (secretaries, other agents, assistants, etc.)?
  • How many agents are there in the agency? Will they all have input regarding my ms?
  • Do you have in-house lawyers? Do you use outside counsel? Who pays for them to examine a contract? Under what conditions would the writer pay legal fees?
  • How many active clients does you have right now?
  • What other paranormal romance authors do you represent?
  • What recent houses have you sold to?
  • How many publishers - on average - will you send a book to before you give up?
  • What houses do you deal with most often (in my genre)? What editors do you submit to the most?
Agency contract
  • Do they have one?
  • Can I see it before agreeing?
  • Does your contract have an interminable clause? (with an interminable clause, if you sign with this agent, she will ALWAYS be entitled to 15% [or whatever percent you agree to] of your earnings on this book. Even if she doesn't sell it.)
  • Do you charge fees? (If yes, then run!)
  • What is your commission? (15% commission and 20% foreign are standard)
  • What do you cover and what do I cover, expense-wise? (copying and shipping for example.)
  • Do I get to approve or disapprove any expenses over, say, $200?
How Do You Work With Your Clients?
  • How much editing input do you do with your clients?
  • Do you see your role as hands-on editing/revision with each ms or do you lean more toward career guidance and go-between for editor & author?
  • What about subsequent books? Once a relationship is established with an editor do you want to review everything (proposals for option books, new ms) before they’re sent to the editor or do you leave the editing/revision of any future manuscripts up to the editor?
  • What is the protocol when you don't want to represent a particular ms, but would prefer another project instead? Who determines which proposals are submitted to publishers?
  • How often will I hear from you? (Once a week, once a month, only when necessary?) How? (email, phone?)
  • What do you expect from me as a client? Do you expect me to be writing a certain number of books a year?
  • Royalty statements: Do you send out the original statements from the publishers or copies?
This Book

  • When do you think you’ll start shopping this around?
  • Which editors do you have in mind?
  • Do you make multiple submissions?
  • Will you keep me up to date on what's going on with the ms? By phone? E-mail?
  • Will you pass on rejection letters or just paraphrase them to me?
And last but not least, say thank you, that you’ll think about their offer and call them back in a day or two. Then hang up and dance around the house like a maniac.

1 comment:

  1. Great List of questions, Lori. I'm going to print it out and commit it to memory!

    Thanks, Francesca