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Don’t Sign With a Literary Agent - Part 2

On to the next set of questions to ask a prospective agent:

If Your Chosen Editors Refuse the Book, What Will You Do Next? Or Should I Start on Another Project Instead?

There are always agents that will only sell in large deals to well-known editors and big publishing houses. This might not be what you want so you need to know what their strategy is before you sign up. You know that there are plenty of options open to you but your potential agent may not be interested in them. If you and your agent can't come together on this one, things can turn sour very quickly.

Do You Think I Need To Change The Manuscript Before It Is Submitted?

One important thing to know is whether the agent thinks your work should be hugely revised before it is submitted. The last thing you want is to sign up and then find that they want a major rewrite or to slash the book in half.

Are You An Editorial Agent?

For some authors, it is very important to have an agent that is happy to dig in and help by offering editorial suggestions. If this is important to you, ask this question.

Can I Talk To Any Of Your Clients?

Some agents will be more than happy to provide you with contact details but not for best-selling famous authors. Others won't be so happy so don’t be too surprised if the answer is no.

What Should I Do To Help Sell this Book?

This is something of an open-ended question. First off, it tells the agent that you are proactive and want to do whatever you can to help sell your book; this goes a long way towards dispelling any misgivings an agent might have about you. Second, this will provide an agent with an opportunity to give you some pointers on how to move forward. It might be a suggestion to start a website or to trim off some of the wording in your book. Listen and take their suggestions and concerns very seriously.

Tell Me How You Submit a Book to An Editor? What Involvement Do I Have?

This gives an agent the chance to tell you how much or how little involvement you have throughout the process. If you know exactly what to expect, you won’t get a shock when your inbox is suddenly filled with communication and information.

If You Decide to Stop Work As An Agent, Will I Be Passed To Someone Else in the Agency?

Most agents will tell you that they won’t leave but don’t accept that as an answer. You need to know what will happen in the event that they do leave for any reason, be it permanent or temporary. If you know that you will be passed to a coworker then you have a security net. If not, you need to know if the agent has any friends that they can refer you to.

All of these questions are providing you with some protection, giving you the information you need to have some peace of mind. Head to the last installment for the final questions you need to ask.

Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Anne-Marie Reynolds