But first a shout out to Emily aka E. K. Anderson, aspiring YA author and super seller in the children’s and YA department at BookPeople in Austin, Texas. Yesterday Emily made Zu Vincent and me feel right at home when we browsed her gorgeous store (and bought armloads of goodies). BookPeople has a phenomenal children’s department and we can’t wait to see Emily’s books there on the shelves.
Photos of our trip to BookPeople are forthcoming, as soon as I solve a couple of technical problems with posting them to The Tollbooth.
Now back to questions for your agent-to-be…
Marketing and Career Planning: What sorts of advice or counseling does this agent typically give clients about their careers, specific books, or other matters? Many publishing people talk about author branding these days. What is author branding and does the agent feel this is important? What input does he or she have into a client’s “brand”.
Foreign and Subsidiary Rights. How does the agent handle foreign rights sales? How important is this segment of their business? Does he or she attend the Bologna Children’s Book Festival and other foreign trade fairs? Does the agent typically retain some or all subsidiary rights? Which ones and how are they handled? Do you have subagents for film rights and other specialized rights? Do you work with scouts?
Financial: What percentage do you charge? How are fees and other expenses calculated and charged? What documentation do you send and when do you send it? How will I receive payments from my publisher? Do you send a 1099 tax form at the end of the year and what if any break downs to you send along with it? Do you keep an escrow account for client funds?
Agency: Am I your personal client or a client of the agency? What happens if you leave the agency? What happens if you die or become disabled?
And perhaps the questions that should have come first- How much experience do you have in the children’s and YA publishing world. What is your background? Are there specific publishers or editors you lean toward in general? Which places would you envision sending my manuscript? What do you think are my manuscripts strengths and weaknesses and what drew you to it in the first place?
That’s all I can think of.
Share your favorite questions and topics. Do you have more questions?
Obviously you don’t want a potential agent to get the impression you’re high maintenance or feel as if they were filling out a questionare. But a good, experienced agent will be happy to explain how they work and how they envision your career.