Michelle Henninger sent in this illustration to help inspire you to find time to play with the kids while waiting for that new agent to call. Michelle is a children’s illustrator, living, drawing, and enjoying life in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. She is represented by the Catugeau Agency. You can see more of her work at: www.michellehennninger.com
When looking for an agent you need to take your time, do your research, and make sure it’s the right fit. Of course you want your agent is completely ethical in how they approach their job. Ask other writers who are represented by the agent or agency. Read blogs, ask editors you meet at conferences about the agency. Check to see if they are a member of the AAR.
When you’re offered representation, here are a few good questions to ask:
- How many clients do you represent?
- Ask how long are you willing to keep my work out on submission?
- How long will you work on finding a home for my manuscript?
- Where do you plan to submit my manuscript?
- What is your plan for selling my book? Do you plan to try the big publishers?
- If we are not successful are you willing to submit to small presses?
- What publishers have signed contracts with you? Your agency?
- What is your sales track record with books of this genre?
- Do you see you and your company continuing working with publishers in this arena?
- If you write more than one genre, ask the agent if they plan to represent the rest of your books? What happens if you write something they do not want to represent? Are you on your own? Do you have to walk away from the book? Could you get another agent to represent those books, etc.
- What do you think your strengths are as an agent?
- What happens if you leave your current agency or if you quit agenting altogether?
- May I contact some of your clients?
- If you are not familiar with the agency, ask the agent to talk about the agency’s history and where they see them going in the future? Does the agent see the agency steering away from the type of books you are writing? If the agent or agency is not located in the New York area, how many times a year do they travel to meet with the publishers there?
- If this is a new agent or agency, ask about their knowledge of contracts. It is okay to be new – lots of opportunity, but find our if they have someone at the agency who has a legal background?
- What is your over-all impression at the end of the phone call. Do you feel comfortable?