This is part 4 of my series on the process of revising, signing with an agent, and submitting.
Previous posts in this series:
Client references were not only important for learning about the agent and his/her client relationships, but also a fabulous way to meet other authors! I’m still in touch with several authors of agents I didn’t end up signing with. As mentioned in the post about The Call, I always asked the agent toward the end of the phone call for client references. Their willingness to give you client contact information and even the number of clients they refer you to can give you some information.
After receiving client name(s) and email(s) from the agent, I researched each author, added their books on Goodreads if applicable, and followed them on Twitter. I personalized each email based on what I learned about them and their writing. I assured them their responses would remain between us (and remained true to my word).
Here are the main questions I asked:
- I would love to know what [agent name]’s response times are on average for simple questions, revisions, and new projects. If there have been any communication issues, I would appreciate it if you could tell me about them and how they were resolved.
- Have there been any difficulties in the working relationship?
- I would also love to know what your past submission process was like, but I completely understand if you would prefer not to share this information.
I also added questions that were specific to each agent. If you have any concerns, now is the time to ask.
I will forever be grateful for the authors I spoke to for their honesty, promptness, and thoroughness.
Some interesting facts:
- some agents gave me 1 reference, others 3-4
- the response rate varied a lot
- there was a common theme among the references per agent in terms of amount of enthusiasm and whether there were past communication issues
- Kathleen’s clients continued to reach out to me throughout the week, offering me support and telling me they wanted to help in whatever way they could. They didn’t pressure me to sign with her—they just wanted to help me find the best fit, but they certainly gushed about her and #TeamKrush.
Next two weeks:
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