The Call

This is part 3 of my series on the process of revising, signing with an agent, and submitting.

Previous posts:

What I needed for the call:

  • a protein shake beforehand because I was too nervous to eat, but also didn’t want to be hungry/lightheaded/malnourished
  • a cup of tea
  • a cup of water
  • fully charged Bluetooth
  • empty Word document to type up a transcript because I knew I wouldn’t be able to recall everything
  • notebook and pen in case something went wonky with my computer (and unfortunately it did during one of my calls)
  • my prepared answers about my work, my process, and my background (discussed in previous post here)

Questions I asked:

I worked on these questions such that they’re written in almost-dialogue form and can be read word-for-word. Before each call, I read them aloud to practice asking these questions as a friendly conversation, not an interrogation. As discussed in the previous post, some of these questions like the subsidiary rights and sales can be found online, but the questions are listed here because there were a few instances where I could not find the information.

  1. What do you love about being an agent? Dislike?

PUBLISHING

  1. I’d love to know more about your submission process. Do you have any editors in mind for the manuscript and do you have existing relationships with these editors? Have you sold to them before?
  2. Do you use a multiple submission strategy?
  3. How open are you with information during the submission process?
    • Will you keep me updated as rejections and offers come in?
    • Will I know exactly who you’re submitting to at all times?
  1. If it doesn’t work out with these editors, how will we proceed? How many editors do you go to before giving up?
  2. I’d love to hear about your sales, especially in [insert your category] and [insert your genre].
  1. What happens if you can’t sell this manuscript? (Revise? Try something new? Part ways?)
  1. What if a situation arises where you don’t like a future project or idea? Would you still support and represent me if at some point I wrote outside of my current genre?
  1. How many clients do you have? How many clients do you wish to have on your list eventually?
  2. What if another client and I approached you with a similar idea?  How would you move forward in that situation?

PROCESS

  1. How editorial are you and what’s your editorial style? How do you handle the revision/editing process?
  1. What would the process be like for future books? When I have an idea or subsequent drafts, how involved do you like to be? What kind of feedback do you give? Do you help authors develop their material?

COMMUNICATION

  1. What communication method do you prefer and how often?
  2. What is your typical response time to email/phone calls?
    • For a quick question vs a revision or new project?
  3. Have you ever had to terminate a client before? If so, what was the reason?

REPRESENTATION AND CONTRACT

  1. Ideally, I would like to find an agent who would represent me over my career. Are you interested in representing me for my career or a specific time period?
  2. What would your typical contract entail? I would prefer to have a written contract if possible.
    • What is the duration of the contract?
    • Is the contract with you or the agency? If you decide to change agencies, will I go with you or stay with the agency?
    • If you are no longer working as an agent, what options will I have? Will you work with me to find another agent? What if we are in the middle of the submission process? (What guidelines are in place for this?) What is the policy for handling any unsold subsidiary rights?
    • I of course hope this doesn’t happen, but what’s the process like if one of us wants to part company for some reason?
  3. Who does your contracts? What kind of background do they have?
  4. To what extent do you work with other agents at your agency?
  5. Who is the primary contact? Do I work with you, your assistant, or both?

SUBSIDIARY RIGHTS

  1. What is the policy for handling any unsold subsidiary rights?
  1. Does the agency have a sub-rights director or agent? A marketing person? A publicity person?
  1. What’s the subsidiary rights set up?
    • Do you have co-agents who help to sell your books overseas?
    • Do you have a co-agent in Hollywood?
    • Does the agency have a sub-rights director or agent? An in-house film agent? A marketing person? A publicity person?
    • If there is no sub-rights director in house, with whom does the agency work?
    • Do you actively pursue audio, foreign, and film rights?
  2. Can you tell me about your agency’s track record with subrights? How has it gone for other clients?

NEXT STEPS

  1. What do you see as the next steps with this manuscript? What revisions/edits do you propose?
  2. May I contact some of your clients for references? Preferably in the same genre. One you’ve sold at least 1 project for and 1 you have yet to sell for?

 

 

Resources:

http://www.dystel.com/2016/01/jim-suggests-questions-to-ask-a-prospective-agent/

Rachelle Gardner’s blog

http://www.literaryrambles.com/2010/02/call-or-what-to-ask-literary-agent-when.html

 

Coming up the next three weeks:

If you enjoyed this post or are interested in the rest of this series, you can follow my blog by email or WordPress on the sidebar (or below for mobile).

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