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The Number One Question to Ask when Offered Representation

Many times on this blog and on YouTube we’ve given advice on the questions authors should ask when receiving an offer of representation. Now I’ve been asked what that number one question is.

I knew my answer immediately. What is your vision for my book and my career?

The biggest disconnect an author and agent can have is their vision for the book. One might think it fits better as a romance while the other sees it as women’s fiction. Or, one might want to remove all the mystery elements while the other sees that as the selling point. Whatever it is, understanding how an agent sees your book will be the largest indicator of whether they’re a good fit for you.

What Does Vision Mean

So what do we mean by vision? This could be a number of things, but there are two key components that should come through in the conversation.

The first is how an agent sees revisions or edits. While you won’t get every single detail in the call, you should have some indication of what sort of hard things the agent might ask for. In some of my calls, it involved the hook, plot elements, and even characters. Enough to show how I saw the book and how extensive revisions will be.

The next thing the vision should include are publishers the agent wants to approach. Will they approach big five publishers, or do they prefer smaller presses? Do they see it as a business book, targeting business publishers, or personal development, targeting self-help publishers?

There is no right or wrong to any of these questions, but how you feel about the answers will determine how you feel about the agent. And, ultimately, how you feel you’ll work together.

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