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Thread: asking for credentials

  1. #1

    asking for credentials

    How do you ask a prospective agent what their credentials are in terms of sales before making a commitment (provided you do not already know)? It seems like a delicate question to ask, considering they may be offering representation and appear to be above-board, but one that I feel is important for the writer.

    Is there any proper etiquette for doing this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Any agent who has requested your work should be happy to provide a list of sales upon polite request ("May I know what books you've sold, and to whom?"). This infomation is not secret. Agents are the public representatives of authors. Anyone who has a meltdown over your asking, dances around the question, or implies you're foolish for asking is an agent to cross off your list.

    Remember to verify what information you're given--both that the books were sold by that agent to the publishers claimed, and that the publishers are reputable publishers. Some scam agents "sell" books to vanity outfits like PublishAmerica and AuthorHouse.

    Good luck!
    Winner of Uncle Jim's Whoo Hoo Super Writer Award and Nomad's Most Use of Vowels in a Screen Name Award as well as Maryn's Only Person on AW Whose Name Anagrams to "I, Octane," "Act I (One)" and "Nice tao" Award in addition to batgirl's Culpeper Award for Botanically Erudite Screen Name plus awatkins' AW's Most Creative Srounger [sic] of Rep Points Award not to mention azbikergirl's Arizona Most Awarded Writer Award and also Dawno's Most Interesting Signature Line Award

  3. #3
    slanted and enchanted erinbee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Boulder, CO


    Just ask - and if they're unwilling to provide that information, run in the other direction as quickly as possible. Sales are a matter of public record and a great way to determine if an agent is legit - if they are, they will be happy to provide you with some info on sales.

    THE H3ROINE'S B00KSH3LF! Hardcover from Harper, paperback from Harper Perennial.

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  4. #4
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    New Hampshire
    If you don't already know -- after they've offered but before you've accepted would probably be best.

    But I have to ask -- how did the agent in question get onto your list of agents to query? Surely it wasn't just "Had a mailing address."

  5. #5
    storm central stormie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Still three blocks from the Atlantic Ocean
    Many agencies have web sites, or you can go to, and you can get a list of authors and books represented, before you query.


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