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On Agent Calls


Just a couple questions du jour:

1. When your agent (or even an agent you didn't end up signing with) called, was there anything they asked that you didn't expect, or hadn't known that they might ask about?

2. What would you say the single most important thing for YOU to ask a potential agent is during this phone call? (We'll assume you already know what they've sold from your online research skillz.)

3. Does the would-be agent tell you *before* you sign what changes he/she would want you to make? Do people often go with the agent who would require the least amount of manuscript changing, as long as they feel they click with the agent? (I get that it usually does need some tweaking, but most of you probably didn't want to alter your story to the point it was totally unrecognizable, right?)



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 17th, 2009 09:22 pm (UTC)
Umm...is there something you would like to share, or is this for curiosity's sake?

I've chatted with two agents. THe first one was a weird very chatty, hardly any business talk at all. Not a good example.

The second we talked about the book-- where I'd gotten the idea, what she thought when reading it, etc.

I think its best to ask moer about her vision for the book-- does she see huge fundamental changes, etc. Another big one is submission strategy-- how many does she like to send to at a time, does she check in regularly, do you get status updates and se the full sub list right up front, etc. Some agents aer simply not hand holders and you wont hear a peep and some give you the play by play, and you might like one style over another.

And yes, an agent sohuld have an idea of what kind of revisions to do. And I wouldn't say you want to go with the one who offers the least-- Id' say you want to go with the one whose vision jives MOST with yours. I have heard revision ideas that made me jump all over I was so excited by them, because I knwe they'd make my book SO MUCH BETTER.
Jun. 18th, 2009 06:34 pm (UTC)
Haha, nope, I don't have anything worth sharing... yet. Within the net 2-3 weeks things could get interesting though!

Thanks for this; I was hoping you'd be one of the responses. You've been in this game a looong time.
Jun. 18th, 2009 12:34 am (UTC)
With my agent, I was pretty much speechless during our first conversation! Of course, I hadn't seen it coming, so I think it was all good. Probably if someone had scheduled a call with an agent in advance, it would not be a good idea to just say things like, "Oh, wow!" and "Yay!" and "I'm sorry. Can you please repeat that?"

That said, here are my thoughts about your questions:

1. He didn't ask anything unexpected. In fact, he didn't ask a lot at all. He told me what he loved about the book, and he told me he thinks the market is hungry for it. He said at this point, I could get in contact with the other agents who have the manuscript and let them know I'd had an offer. He said he wanted me to take my time so I could make the best decision.

2. Like I said, I didn't ask a lot of questions. But I do remember asking for a few examples of the types of things he was going to want to see in revisions. Later that same day, I emailed him asking how long he expected his revisions would take for me to complete. I also asked about how much YA he represents since his agency website didn't mention it. And finally, I asked how he would handle future projects, if he likes to be involved in the early part of the process with narrowing down which projects a client should pursue, or if he leaves it up to the writer to complete and get it done on their own.

3. What he told me about revisions in that initial call was that he had a few ideas and they were all minor things. (And it was true.) Another agent who had NOT offered representation, but who had requested revisions had different ideas for the revisions. I can't say why exactly, but I felt better about his (although I thought hers had merit as well). I didn't see the specifics until over a month later.

If the revisions he'd wanted would have made the story unrecognizable, I think we would both have had to think a lot about whether we really wanted to work together. I actually thought he let me off easy, though. I would have been willing to remove characters and entire subplots if he thought it would sell this book. He didn't want or ask for that.
Jun. 18th, 2009 06:36 pm (UTC)
Oh wow, thanks so much for all of this. It really sounds like Jim is just made of awesome. That's certainly what I've heard elsewhere.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )



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