14 Agent Questions to Ask

For those authors seeking literary agents, here's a list of questions to ask prospective agents.

Things A Writer Must Always Remember

When shopping for representation, an author is actually screening applicants for a job.

The author is the Employer seeking to hire an Employee, a literary agent to work FOR HER/HIM.

This is a business. Never forget that. Be business-like. Ask the right questions.

At the very least, here are some basic questions a writer needs a prospective agent to answer when an offer of representation is on the table.

14 Important Questions

1. Does the agent maintain separate escrow or trust accounts for client funds?

2. Does the agent have a separate signatory for the client account in case of death or incapacitation?

3. How do you get your money if the agent is incapacitated or dies?

4. Does the agent have a surety bond?

5. Does the agent maintain some sort of error, omission or fidelity insurance?

6. Is the agent a member of RWA or other professional organizations? If so, check with that organization to see if there are any comments or complaints against the agent.

7. Does the agent offer a written contract?

8. Does the agent also package books?

9. Does the agent also write books? Is there anyway this could be a conflict of interest for you?

10. If you ever have to return an advance, does the agent forfeit the commission?

11. What fees are charged? Courier, copying, telephone, postage, flat "Office Expense" fee, etc.?

12. Are you sent an accounting? If so, how often?

13. Does the agent send a year-end statement of activity or some other kind of report?

14. How can the agent be terminated if he/she doesn't work out?

Takeaway Truth

Read these questions carefully. If you don't know what some of these things mean, look them up.

Educate yourself. This is a business, not just a creative pursuit.

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