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asking for credentials

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

governor_corleone

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?
 

Aconite

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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!
 

erinbee

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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.
 

James D. Macdonald

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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."
 

Krampus Nacht

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