Elle Cosimano

Interviewing Your Agent

“How did you land your agent?” This is the most frequently asked question I’ve heard from writer friends since I signed with The Greenhouse.

I’m not going to bore you with “how”. There are hundreds of insightful blog posts and websites devoted to this subject, and they all essentially say the same thing:

  1. Read a lot of books
  2. Write the best book you can
  3. Find brilliant critique partners
  4. Research agents, the industry, and the process
  5. Write a kick ass query letter (I can’t emphasize this enough)

 

That’s it. There’s no substitute for elbow grease, and no secret weapon. I am convinced there’s no love potion or Cupid’s arrow as effective as a solid query letter — and an intense amount of work and patience.

So let’s say you’ve made it this far. An agent loves your manuscript. Now what? You’ve been jumping up and down, waving your arms in the air, screaming “pick me, pick me” for years, and suddenly an agent is holding your beloved darlings and the tables are turned. What do you do?

Google wasn’t much help with this. There are so many of us out there trying to get through the first hurdle, it seems the next step is often overlooked.

The answer? You interview them.

With the help of agented colleagues and friends, I’ve compiled a list of interview questions I found helpful during the process, and a few words of advice to consider when choosing an agent.

NOTE: Revised 12/16/2011 – an updated list may be found in my guest post at Ink & Angst – No Such Thing As A Dumb Question.

Without further ado…

 

I received the greatest advice from a widely known, award-winning author while attending a conference last year. She told me to choose an agent I felt comfortable with.

Your relationship with your agent is a long partnership. You hold hands and take risks together (as my agent told me) and you should feel confident in that partnership. Your agent should be someone you trust to guide you through the publishing waters and keep you afloat. If they don’t return calls, don’t answer your questions, or if you feel uncomfortable picking up the phone or asking, there is probably a reason. Compatibility is important, in any successful long-term relationship. You’ve got to like each other, believe in each other, and trust each other.

If any agented colleagues are reading along, and have additional interview questions to add, or feedback to share, I welcome your comments.

Good luck out there!