Obviously any smart author wants an agent who has connections, business savvy, a good reputation, and of course the passion for your writing and your book. But when getting The Call, how can you tell the difference between an agent who loves your book and truly connects with it versus one who just thinks she can sell it?
To be honest, I’m not sure I’m the right person to answer this question, so while I will give my opinion, I’m going to open this up to my agented readers. Feel free to use your name or write anonymously, but please chime in and let us know what you’ve learned—good and bad—about how to tell whether or not an agent really loves the book.
My advice is to ask the right questions. In a quick search on the Internet you can find a million different lists of what to ask an agent before signing. In fact, you can find a post or two on this very blog. What few really hit upon though are the questions that should be most important to the author (since presumably you already know whether or not the agent is reputable before you even bothered to submit your work). Namely:
What did you like most about the work? What drew you to it?
What do think the strengths are of this book? What do you see as its weaknesses?
Will you be giving me editorial comments? Would you be willing to elaborate on what some of those might be? (Keep in mind that some agents will keep this fairly close to the chest until you’ve signed on the dotted line. I know that I, for one, have been burned by authors who agreed to sign, got the revisions, and went elsewhere with my revisions. I know, I read the published book.)
But I throw this out to readers. What’s your advice?