Blogger: Mary Keeley
An agent is interested in taking your proposal to the next level. She suggests a phone or video interview to discuss the possibility of representation. After your feet return to terra firma, lasso your nerves and divert that energy for the next step: prepare. You have a lot you can do to give yourself the best chance of making a great impression.
Step 1: Prepare to Communicate Important Information.
First, review the proposal you sent to the agent to refresh yourself on what you communicated there, including your hook, synopsis (fiction) or overview and chapter list (nonfiction), platform information. The tone you used in this business portion of the proposal is equally important. The agent liked what she saw here as well as in your writing sample.
Next, update your social media numbers, and have them handy to refer to during the call.
Step 2: Prepare to Communicate Your Knowledge.
In the course of your conversation the agent wants to learn that you:
- Are prepared to explain your qualification for writing your novel or nonfiction book
- Have familiarized yourself with the agent and the agency. You don’t ask questions that are clearly addressed on the website.
- Did your homework. You’ve learned a little about the publishing industry by attending writers conferences and following industry and author blogs.
- Are a go-getter about doing all you can to market your book. You understand that while it’s the agent’s job to guide and suggest marketing efforts, it’s your job to plan and implement them and follow through with enthusiasm.
- Have grown a sizable audience for your work. You can describe your target audience and how you connect with them through your social media, author newsletter, speaking events. You understand what attracts them to your writing.
- Can be relaxed and comfortable when communicating professionally about your proposal. One of the reasons the agent requested a phone or video conversation is that he wants to know if you can interact with professionalism and friendly ease in a business setting.
- Developed a sense of your author brand, and that your book and future book ideas fit the brand. It demonstrates that you’ve given your unique brand a lot of thought and are invested in your future writing career.
- Investigated publishing house websites. You’re savvy about which publishing houses publish your type of books.
- Understand the author-agent relationship. You know the questions to ask about what the agency offers to clients, and you acknowledge your responsibility in the relationship.
Step 3: Prepare for Your Author Presence.
Finally, remember that the author-agent relationship is a business partnership. Approach the conversation as a professional. If you will be conversing via a video session, business casual is the dress code.
Prepare to exhibit these personal characteristics that contribute to a positive author-agent relationship:
- Good people skills. Thank the agent for the call. Be pleasant and friendly. It shows you have the skills you will need to promote your book and interact with publishing professionals. You don’t have to be a super extrovert. Agents know that many authors are introverted, as are many agents and editors. So relax. Trying to project yourself as someone you are not doesn’t work for long. Be your best professional self.
- Confident yet humble. Showing confidence is very important because it tells the agent you can interact successfully with publishing professionals and in media interviews when your book is published. A balanced blend of confidence and a humble attitude is most pleasing.
- Teachable. You appear to be patient and eager to learn. And you show that you’re a forthright communicator.
The better prepared you are, the more relaxed you’ll be. The more relaxed you are, the sharper your thinking will be.
What makes you most nervous when you think about a phone or video interview with an agent? If you’ve had an author-agent interview regarding representation, were you pleased with how you did? What would you do differently next time?
Begin to prepare for an agent interview as soon as you submit your proposal. Here’s how. Click to Tweet.