Heya, book nerds! I’m Meg LaTorre, and on
this episode of iWriterly, let’s talk about questions you should ask literary agents when
you get “The Call.” For those of you who don’t know, “The
Call” refers to a phone conversation after a literary agent has read your full manuscript,
liked your work, and is interested in offering you literary representation. Being represented
by a literary agent is how writers can be traditionally published in today’s modern
world, as these agents pitch writers’ work to editors at publishing houses. When a writer receives a request (usually
by email) to schedule a time to talk, that doesn’t automatically mean the agent will
offer representation. The call is an opportunity for both the writer and the agent to ask each
other questions to see if they would be a good match for a long-term business relationship.
Ideally, a writer will work with their literary agent throughout their entire career as an
author. Many writers think that the call is a a time
for the literary agent to interview the author, but it is also a time for the writer to ask
the agent questions. Here are a few questions you may want to consider
asking a literary agent on “The Call”: 1.) What led you to become a literary agent?
How long have you been an agent? 2.) What is your style as an agent? 3.) How frequently do you update authors?
Do you have a preferred method of communication? 4.) What is your response timeline? 5.) Will you be handling my work or will another
person on your staff be working with me directly? 6.) Are you an editorial agent? Not all literary agents are editorial agents.
Editorial agents are people who like to work with an author on their story prior to going
out on submission. 7.) Do you have any notes for improvement
on my book? How close is it to being ready for submission? This question is important to determine if
you and the agent share the vision for your book. You don’t want to form a business
relationship with someone who wants to change the integral parts of your story that you
are unwilling to change. 8.) What is your submission style? Will you
keep me updated on where and when my work was submitted and the outcome? 9.) What editors/publishing houses do you
have in mind for my book? 10.) How many clients do you currently represent?
Can you please provide the contact information of some of your clients so I can speak with
them? By speaking with a few of that agent’s clients,
you will be able to better get a feel for how that agent operates (and if you’d be
a good match). 11.) Will you represent me or my work (or
both)? Most reputable agents will represent an author
throughout their career, which includes their writing. However, some agents (possibly schmagens)
will only offer representation for a writer on the single book they’re interested in. 12.) What are your thoughts/insights on the
[age group / genre] market? Is it saturated? What is/isn’t selling right now? Personally, I love this question, as you get
to see that particular agent’s insight into the age group and genre of your book. You’ll
see what is/isn’t selling right now and a glimpse into their experience pitching to
editors. 13.) *Can you tell me about a few recent sales
you’ve made, specifically in [age group / genre]? This question is a little on the aggressive
side, so proceed with caution if you choose to ask. The reason I listed this question
is because if the agent has zero publishing deals listed in Publisher’s Marketplace,
that might be because they’re a new agent, they haven’t updated their account… or
because they might be a schmagent. Go with your gut–if you’re feel uncertain as to
their schmagent-y status, this may be a question you want to ask. 14.) What co-agents do you work with for foreign
rights, film rights, and other subrights? On the flip side, make sure you are prepared
for the hard questions a literary agent will want to ask you. Maria Vicent at P.S. Literary
Agency wrote a fantastic article called “The 5 Questions I Ask Every Writer When I’m Considering
Offering Literary Representation.” I’ll leave a link in the description below so you
guys can check that out. Thanks for tuning into this episode on iWriterly
on questions to ask literary agents on “The Call.” If you liked what you saw, give the
video a thumbs up. It lets me know you like this type of content and want more. If you’re
new here, welcome! Consider subscribing. I post writing-related videos every Wednesday.
If you have questions about anything we covered today, leave those in the comments below. As always, KEEP WRITING!