Ask Me Anything: The Call

Here's the question:
I've seen a lot of articles about what writers should ask agents during, "The Call," but what do agents usually ask writers during "The Call?" Thanks in advance!
Ooh, good question and not one that I think I've seen before. I'm happy to lay it out. Just know that every agent is different and "The Call" can vary depending on projects and the author as well.

Anyway, here's how they typically go for me.

After we say hello, I usually try to exchange a few pleasantries. I'm excited to talk about the book, of course, but this is also my chance to get to know the author. I might ask about where they live, or talk about the weather (I know, but come on, this weather!), or ask about the author's day job if they mentioned it.

Then as we move to the book, I'll usually start with all the things I really love about it. 

Some of my book related questions:

What was your inspiration? or How did you come up with the idea?

When did you write it? How long did the first draft take you?

If I have notes, I'll also mention them, or if I emailed them to the author, I'll ask if he/she has any questions on the notes.

Then I move to bigger/wider scope questions:

What else do you want to write? What are some of your WIPs that you're hoping to work on next?

Have you thought about the kind of career you want? Are there other genres/age groups that you want to write in?

What are you looking for in an Agent?

If it sounds like we'll be a good fit, I'll officially offer representation and tell the author more about me, New Leaf, and next steps. 

Then I'll end with "What questions do you have for me?"

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Stephen Kozeniewski said...

You know how at the end of a job interview you're supposed to ask questions back, and then the hiring authority will also judge you partially on what questions you ask? Is that true with "the call" as well? Or does it not matter since you've already offered representation?

J Lenni Dorner said...

Great post.

Two related questions:

1) "What are you looking for in an Agent?" - What are some example answers?

2) How would it be dealt with if an author was vocally challenged or impaired (mute)?

Sue Coletta said...

This is a great question! We, writers, never hear about what the agent says. I was surprised by some of your usual responses. For instance, how long did it take you to write the first draft and what are you looking for in an agent?

Very interesting! Thanks for sharing.

Eric Steinberg said...

Have you ever made "the call" and not offered representation?


Alexia Chantel said...

What a great post! It's nice to see what The Call can entail from your side of the phone.