View Full Version : If you could ask an agent one question...

11-29-2011, 07:25 AM
I'm a little overwhelmed here. The other day on twitter I had a really brief conversation with Mandy Hubbard - the author and agent who's blog I am always referring to - and on some random impulse a few hours later asked her if she'd do an interview. And she agreed. I'm still doing a happy dance right now; SOOO excited!
I sat down today to write my questions, did a few and stopped. I couldn't think of any really good, witty questions. This is an excellent opportunity and is something I am really excited about so I want to make sure I get in the best questions possible. :-) I am trying to avoid asking a bunch of query questions, btw. I also keep my interviews fun and interesting and refrain from boring questions.
Anyway, I am wondering if any AWers have any good questions worth asking. I cannot guarantee I will use it but if I am interested in knowing the answer myself, I'll go ahead and ask it. So if you have any questions worth asking an agent or Mandy Hubbard in specific, please put them here. I'll see what I can do.

11-29-2011, 03:58 PM
Maybe something about books that she loved but couldn't/didn't sign - whether that's ever happened, and if it did, what the circumstances were.

Maybe something about being both an author and agent - does she find that all the reading she does as an agent refills her creativity or drains it?

I like it when the more career-oriented questions are mixed in with things that give readers insight into the interviewee's personality - steal some questions from an on-line personality test and ask her those. Like, you're at a non-work party with a bunch of people you know pretty well. There's a group doing shots at the bar, a group playing a Trivia game on the couches, a group chatting by the staircase, and a group, of course, in the kitchen, threatening to get rowdy. Which group do you join, and what's the first thing you say as you come into the group? Or whatever.

Good luck with it!

11-29-2011, 06:31 PM
What's the most important question that writers never think to ask during "the call"?

11-29-2011, 06:34 PM
You need a mix. A good interview will be fun and entertaining, but also useful to your readers, who are likely to be mostly unagented writers. So definitely thow in a few of those query questions. Just two or three.

I would love to read about the book she passed that made it big, and why she passed. I've known of some agents who have passed on potential best-sellers because they were out of their league. They didn't feel they had the appropriate connections to do the author justice. That takes a huge amount of selflessness.

Also, when does she work and how does she prioritize her time, especially if she is also an author? So many agents seem to respond to queries at night and on the weekends, but she also has to fit in writing time and, if she has a family, family time.

I have a hard enough time balancing writing fiction with family and fitness. I had to give up freelancing because I was too stressed out. I can't imaging throwing agenting into that mix.

Good luck and have fun!

11-30-2011, 07:47 AM
Thanks for the question ideas guys! They rock! I'll leave this open for another two days if anyone has anything else and then I'll go ahead and the send the questions.
And Mandy, if you're reading this (because I know you're on AW), THANK YOU!!!!!!!!

Little Ming
11-30-2011, 11:00 PM
1. What does she think of agents who have services that help their clients "self-publish"? Or in the alternative, an agency that offers an in house publishing service to their clients? Does she think this is a conflict of interest? Does she think this is a growing trend?

2. What does she think about representing a novel that was previously self-published? How important are "first publishing rights" if the author has completely removed the novel from the market and/or internet prior to querying an agent?

3. We've been seeing more and more author meltdowns on the internet. (authors talking bad about their agents/publisher/the industry in general; authors criticizing readers/reviewers) How would you advise these authors? If these authors were your clients, how would you handles these situations? Would you drop them?

12-01-2011, 02:25 AM
I love the idea about books she passed on that later went on to sell big. If it was the query, partial, the full was too rough/didn't click/couldn't foresee selling it at that time...

12-02-2011, 06:36 AM
Ok. Question ideas are still open until tomorrow evening on the east coast of the U.S. (so about 6:00 EST) and then I'll send off my questions. Keep the brilliant ideas coming!

12-02-2011, 06:48 AM
I would ask her about the other side of agenting - working with a publisher. A lot is written about author/agent interaction. Not so much on agent/editor/publisher.

12-02-2011, 07:35 AM
"How can I impress you?"

If there was one question I would ask an agent it would be that. Even though I pretty much know the answer its still often different for each agent.

12-02-2011, 07:55 AM
If you'll post a link to the interview here, once it's up, I'd be delighted to Tweet and link to it on the AW blog, too. :)

12-02-2011, 09:05 AM
That would be great Mac, thanks so much! Really good ideas guys. It's going to be tough choosing questions. ;) So excited, though.