View Full Version : What questions should I ask?

09-09-2008, 12:31 AM
I have been asked for a phone interview w/ an important agent.

What should I ask? What would she ask?



Dale Emery
09-09-2008, 01:16 AM
I have been asked for a phone interview w/ an important agent.

What should I ask?

I don't know nothin' 'bout no agents. I do have a few "context-free" questions that I like to ask in nearly any kind of interview:

What else would you like me to know?
What other questions should I be asking?These two questions, asked near the end of the interview, almost always produce useful information, and often the most useful information of the interview.


09-09-2008, 01:52 AM
Thanks, Dale, and it may be good advice.
The agent is probably looking to see how receptive I am to suggestions, and those two questions would certainly help. Thanks!


09-09-2008, 03:03 AM
I'd get hold of a generic contract and read through it to see what main areas are covered and ask about anything that reading a contract brings you uneasy feelings. Ask about the fees if you don't know from previous correspondence. Find out who this agent has found contracts with and for whom. Are they usually world-wide publishers? Do they publish in foreign languages (one of my publishers contracts for Australian distribution only. The other does not ask for film or foreign language production)? Anyway, by reading up on the agent you might find other things you want to ask about.

09-09-2008, 06:02 AM
She may ask:

If you are open to suggested revisions or if you are die hard on anything in your MS.
What your schedule is like if she needs revisions on a schedule or by deadline.
If you can cut your word count or flesh to add more, depending upon your MS length.
What else you are working on or have completed.
She IS going to feel you out to see if you are a pill to work with or not.

You could ask:

What authors she currently represents and for how long.
How long she has been in the business and with what agencies.
If she does cross genre or print and screen - what percentage she does in each area (for a feel of how much you can expect in your arena)
You can ask when she had her last pubbed author or when her next release is for a current work.

Those are just some ideas.

There are many other people on this site that can offer more. I just came up with these as these are things I would consider asking. Right or wrong, these are things I would want to know about an interested agent - PC or not.

Good luck!


09-09-2008, 09:40 PM
This is a suggested list of questions from the blog of agent Chip McGregor.

-How long have you been doing this?
-How many contracts have you negotiated for authors?
-Who do you represent?
-May I check your references?
-What publishing houses have you worked with in the past year?
-Which editorial personnel have you done deals with?
-How many deal have you done in the past year?
-What sort of authors and projects do you represent?
-What do you like to read?
-Can you give me a book title you sold that you loved?
-Can you give me a book idea you sold that you loved?
-What would you say are your best skills?
-What's unique about your agency?
-What percentage do you earn on a book deal?
-Are there any hidden fees or charges? Any up-front costs?
-Do you charge back all your expenses?
-Have you ever worked in publishing or done any editing or writing?
-How do you approach career planning?
-Do you work by yourself?
-Are you full time?

09-10-2008, 06:29 AM

Get to your local library and check out "Writer's Market." In the front there's a list of questions to ask an agent.

Let us know how it goes.

Good luck!

09-10-2008, 08:44 PM
That list of questions above seem to me to be suggested questions before deciding to accept a firm offer -they may not be relevant to the particular interview envisaged here.

Personally, I would play it by ear.

09-10-2008, 08:54 PM
Remember, some of the above questions you should already know. Websites and agentquery.com give a lot of info, as does PW. So before the phone call, write down what you do know already so you can seem prepared and tell the agent, "I do know this about you and/or the agency. Can you expand on this?"

Questions that you wouldn't get from their website or other places:
*Would it be okay to contact a client or two of yours?
*What is the best way to communicate with you? Email or phone? (If this is for representation, not just an interview.)
*How many of your clients' books have you sold in the past year?

Good luck!