Monday, September 20, 2010

30 minutes with an agent

A few months ago my hubby won a full MS crit and a 30 minute phone call from Kathleen Ortiz.  Awesome right?  I'm sure you've stopped reading because you've been blinded by jealousy.

Well here's my issue, it's the 30 minute phone call.

I"m sort of a spaz.  Seriously I'm a freaking idiot on the phone,  I'm even worse when I'm speaking to ab agent,  See How to Lose an Agent in 30 seconds if you don't agree.

So I need a plan of attack.  A list of questions to ask her.

1) Did you like How to Pwn nOOBz? <----I figured though I'd be able to infer the answer from her comments in the MS.

2) Do you think it's marketable? <--  That's a pretty important one.

Now it get's tricky...

So readers, lurkers, bloggers, writers, puppy sized elephants, what would you do?  You have an agent for 30 minutes, what questions would YOU ask?

I need really specific questions.... I don't think you guys FULLY understand what sort of a spaz I am.  I need a plan of attack before this phone call happens.  


  1. Firstly WOW WOW WOW that is so freakin awesome. And secondly relax, I am sure once you get talking you'll see she is just a human and probably very nice. I'd ask her everything you can possibly think of. Even the 'dumb' questions.
    For me because I write memoir, I'd ask about how important platform is and what she thought I could do to build mine. I tell her about my book and then ask for her honest feedback on my pitch. I'd ask if I could read my query letter and then get her feedback on that. I'd ask her for any tips or inside information that she wanted to offer up. I'd also ask what she was looking for and if I was really bold if she knew anyone who was looking for what I wrote.

    All the best to you.

  2. Are you having the call right after you get her feedback? If no, then what I'd do is skim the feedback and see if there are things you should question there first. Yep, that's the most useful thing you'll get from me this week I'm afraid.

  3. I definitely agree with Alicia. If you have a chance to scan the comments she makes, I'd ask her any specific questions from there first.

    Also, I'd ask any general industry questions I could come up with. Questions about querying, the whole agent process, the submission process, etc.

  4. I haven't read the book so these are just things I would want to know if it were my own work.
    Ask what should be deleted, should extra parts be added. Are there any insecurities you have about particular characters or particular scenes? Ask if she felt those were weak spots or did they come across to her in a different way? Maybe almost quiz her on your characters and anything that you were planning to infer to see if those inferences, character traits, etc came through. Ask about the title - you have changed it, does she think that was a good change? What are the next steps? What are the in's and outs of getting your book published? Should this be a one shot deal or should there be a sequel? Was she satisfied at the end of the book? As a mother (I am guessing she is one?) is this a book she would be proud to see her child is reading?

  5. WOW!!!!! Congrats! :)

    This is tough - I think I'd be having a panic attack. Okay, questions...

    - what did you like/dislike about the characters
    - is there too much description? not enough?
    - did the plot flow

  6. Yea thirty minute call!

    I think if you have a list, sort of like a guide for what TO SAY, you'll be more likely to stray onto things you shouldn't say.

    Research the agent - which yes, I know you have. Come up with some questions about her or her work; including her in the conversation could help put her at ease and not so much the 'having to put up with a sales pitch'. Ask what she reads when she's not wearing her agent hat. What her favorite new book this year is.

    Questions about the manuscript...
    If you get the feedback first, totally go through it and pick out stuff to ask. Then start from the bottom and go up. Ask about where she got hooked in the story, what made her gain/lose interest. Was the setting believable? I think it is - but does the agent buy it? The characters - did they seem like real people, or do they need improvement?

    Ask about the market, what she thinks is interesting or selling well. You can always open it up to her and ask for her to just give you a verbal run down of the story; she'll have oppions and sometimes hearing them spoken rather than read can help trigger a conversation about it.

    Okay, tha's it. I'm sure there's other stuff.....

  7. Awesome! My favorite critique question is "if you could only give me one single note what would it be?" it's a great way to get someone to be really specific and helps me see what they think is most important. Good luck!