Monday, August 24, 2015

When to offer representation

While working with one of our agent apprentices, we discussed how and when it's appropriate to offer representation and how do we know if the author is going to be a good fit for both the agent and the agency. It's important to be mindful of our time and resources when we know the quality of the work is there from the author. So, I put together a quick list of questions I ask myself when I find that manuscript I love and want to offer representation.

Photo by Ben Terrett
When I read a manuscript for representation, I'm not just reading for fun. I'm looking at a lot of different factors and deciding on whether I'm the right fit for this project.

So I ask myself:
  1. Is the work engaging?
  2. Does the author have an established platform?
  3. Does the work need a lot of editorial work or just a quick polish?
  4. Do I have the time to devote to the editorial needs of this work?
  5. Do I have the time to devote to the needs of this author?
  6. Off the top of my head, how many editors can I pitch this to?
  7. Is this too similar to something I already represent?
  8. Is this a topic I'm passionate about?
  9. Does the book have series potential? Does it need it?

I'm also mindful of the industry and where it's going. If the book is a stand-alone, will the author be able to crank out other books that will keep the pipeline full and establish a readership?

So many questions but the most important have to do with time management. If I can't devote the time to the author that they need to be a success then I can't, in good judgment, offer representation.