GUEST POST: 10 Questions To Ask An Agent When You Get The Call

Some thoughtful questions from client Lesley Cheah, who last year asked me these very questions (+ some!) herself…imgres

  1. Do you work on a book-by-book basis or do you sign a client for the duration of their career?
  2. How editorial of an agent are you? What revision suggestions do you have for this manuscript?
  3. The manuscript you’re signing me with is a YA contemporary. What if my next manuscript is a post-apocalyptic picture book featuring killer robots?
  4. What do you think your strengths are as an agent?
  5. What are some of the titles you sold last year? Which publishers did you sell them to?
  6. What is your submission strategy for this manuscript and how much information will you share during the submission process?
  7. What is your usual response time when I have a question or when I submit new material?
  8. What are some of your standard agency terms e.g. commission, policy on termination, fees charged, etc?
  9. What happens if you leave your current agency or if you quit agenting altogether?
  10. May I contact some of your clients?

What other questions do you think should be included on the list?

Lesley’s life choices revolve around storytelling in one form or other. This was evident when she was a copywriter, a contributor to a local daily and now, as a mother (“If you finish all your carrots, you can see in the dark! I swear!”). Armed with perhaps the most legitimate storytelling license of all – a law degree – Lesley writes stories from her corner in sunny Singapore while waiting for the latest seasons of Dr. Who, Once Upon A Time and The Big Bang Theory.


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17 responses to “GUEST POST: 10 Questions To Ask An Agent When You Get The Call

  1. Pingback: Agent and Query Letter Boot Camp | Ingrid's Notes

  2. Lou Buffkin

    Congratulations!! I see your hard work has paid off beautifully! I’m glad for you……………………lou buffkin

  3. I did so much research on what to ask an agent during The Call, that I ended up with two pages of questions…. Then I realized asking them all would be sort of ridiculous. There are questions that made more sense to ask later. Your list is awesome. It’s the 10 things you should find out up front.
    Well done! I’m sharing this.

    • Lesley C

      Share away, ME. I’m an over-researcher myself and actually got more than 2 pages but ended up asking maybe only 5 or 6. (Didn’t want my potential agent to think that I’m a troublemaker right off the bat:P) But you’re right. There are some fundamental questions that I needed to know up front and these are the ones.

  4. Great post. I only hope I can remember all of your advice when I finish my MS.

    • Lesley C

      Good luck on your manuscript, Dennis. May you have a great conversation with your future agent when you get THE CALL.

  5. What a fantastic post! When daydreaming about the call, writers sometimes forget how important it is to ask these sort of questions.

    One question I would add is, “What is your vision for my book?”

    • Lesley C

      Yes, that, too and you might also want to add “What is your vision for my career” as well if you get the chance.

  6. Great list, Lesley! I thought I was prepared to ask a few good questions, but when the call actually came, I basically went blank and started crying.

    • Lesley C

      I KNOW, RIGHT, Rhonda?!! I was pretending to be calm and composed but was really freaking out inside!

  7. Really. So great, so concise. I’m printing out your list, Lesley, keeping it by my computer/phone/bedside table in the hopes I’ll need to refer to it soon. And thanks Nora, for that reminder of the social media piece. That’s an area I feel quite ambivalent and confused about. I wanna just write, ya know?

    • Lesley C

      I hope you get to use the questions soon as well, Alice. All the best to you on your journey 😀

  8. How about: “What are your expectations in terms of social media activity?”

    • Lesley C

      That’s a great question, Nora. I think Linda addressed this issue somewhere on this blog recently.

  9. You’re just way too helpful. More power to your blabber.