Questions to Ask an Agent’s Clients

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Sep 10 2020

When an offer of representation comes in, some authors ask to speak with an agent’s clients. I don’t know that this is a requirement, depending on your comfort level with the agent, but it can be helpful when making a final decision.

If you are subscribed to our YouTube channel you might have already seen this video, but there’s always something new from one to the other.

Know Your Goal

Knowing why you’re speaking to clients is important in knowing what to ask. It should be some other reason than simply because you’ve been told that’s what you’re supposed to do. It also doesn’t have to be done if you feel confident in your decision. I’ve hired a lot of agents at BookEnds based on my gut and without making any referral calls.

Everyone’s perfect agent is differently depending on what you need, who you are, and what you write. Knowing intimately how each agent works is helpful in understanding better if they are right for you.

The Questions

Can you talk about the agent’s editorial feedback? Whether or not you want a editorial agent, understanding their style when it comes to feedback can be helpful in knowing if you mesh.

What is the agent’s communication style? We all have preferences in communication, some like email, some prefer phone. Some of us are long-winded and like to chat while others are short and to the point.

Do you feel like you’re part of the process? Each author has a different vision for the type of business partner they want. Some want to be involved every step of the way, while others are more comfortable sitting back to write while the agent does their job on the other end.

Any tips or tricks that have made your partnership successful? When starting a new relationship we all need to learn about the other person and make adjustments. Getting some tips from those with experience can be helpful in settling in faster.

This is not meant as an exhaustive list and James and I definitely covered more in the video, but this is a good start if you are an author looking to talk with other clients.

5 responses to “Questions to Ask an Agent’s Clients”

  1. Avatar AJ Blythe says:

    Communication is the biggest one for me. If you are able to be open and honest and have timely communication I figure most things can be worked out.

  2. Avatar Ken Jester says:

    What if you’re confident of the agent’s credentials and you know he or she is thee agent you want to represent you? Your gut feeling about the agent, along with your research makes that agent thee one… even if there’s a few things that make that agent more than likely to reject your query? You have no media platform? Your comparison titles are classic… yet dated? Perhaps your genre is vague?

  3. Avatar Nancy Thompson says:

    This is off topic, but I have a question about word processing systems. I use LibreOffice. My sister claims that is unprofessional and that I should be using Microsoft Word. I say Miss Know It All doesn’t really know.
    Who’s right?
    I so appreciate your blog. It feels like I invited a couple of friends over and we’re having a great time discussing my favorite topic — writing.

  4. Avatar AJ Blythe says:

    Hi Nancy, I’m answering from a tech perspective (so Jessica and team might have a different opinion) but as far as I was aware I thought LibreOffice documents were compatible with Microsoft Word. However, I don’t think it goes the other way (as in word into LibreOffice) which might mean if you get revisions etc from an agent you might have problems with what they’ve sent you.

  5. Avatar Lysle says:

    In the end it’s all words and a file format, Nancy! The tool doesn’t matter as long as it does its job and allows you to format your text. I write in Google Docs and happy with it because it does all that I need it to, including export in multiple formats. Choose what you like!