Writer FAQs

FAQ for Hiring an Agent

Before You Sign with an Agent, Ask

  • Is this offer for one book or is it open-ended?
  • Do you have a written agreement?
  • Who handles the other types of rights (film, audio, foreign)?
  • What commission do you charge?
  • If either one of us decides to terminate the relationship, what process will we use?
  • What happens to the rights of unsold work if we terminate the relationship
  • Will our communication usually occur via email?
  • How much marketing/PR advice do you provide?
  • Do you provide career planning?
  • How much editorial feedback do you like to give?
  • How soon do you think this book is ready for submission?
  • If I write in multiple genres, will you represent my work in those other genres?
  • What happens if you don’t like my next book?
  • How often do you provide status updates when a manuscript is on submission?
  • Will you discuss all offers with me?
  • Will you share feedback from editors with me?
  • What are your business hours? [Including time zone] 
  • How many agents are employed by your agency?
  • Does the agency have any staff besides the agents?
  • Do payments go through the agency?
  • How quickly will I receive royalties from you?
  • What fees are charged above and beyond commission?
  • Does the agency issue 1099 tax forms?
  • What happens with active projects when you are on vacation?
  • How would you describe the ideal client/author?

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What to Pack for A Publishing Conference


  • Travel clothes 
  • Professional clothes
  • Undergarments
  • Formal attire for dressy occasions
  • Lightweight sweater or jacket
  • Sleepwear
  • Casual or workout clothes for off-hours


  • Comfortable, professional shoes
  • Shoes for dressy occasions
  • Casual shoes or flip-flops
  • Athletic shoes


  • Jewelry
  • Scarves or shawls
  • Purse(s)
  • Briefcase or computer bag
  • Evening bag
  • Umbrella
  • Professional pins or badges

Toiletries and Sundries

  • Cosmetics and skin care
  • Deodorant, powder, and hygiene products
  • Hair care
  • Dental care
  • Prescription and over-the-counter medications
  • Safety pins and duct tape
  • Sunscreen and lip balm
  • Nail care

Important Papers

  • Passport or photo id
  • Business cards
  • Conference schedule, receipts, confirmations
  • Tickets for travel, events, and entertainment
  • Notes for pitching manuscript
  • Promotional materials


  • Spare pair of glasses or shades
  • Cash, especially one-dollar bills/coins for tipping
  • Credit and debit cards
  • Laundry bag
  • Electronics (camera, computer, and cell phone)
  • Power cords for rechargeable electronics
  • Photo-copies or electronic copies of ID card, credit cards, etc.
  • Thumb drive to save images and documents

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Interviewing Your New Editor

So an editor has just acquired your book. You’re about to become co-creators of something amazing. But this is still a working relationship. You’re a project team whose product is a great book. Here are a few questions to help you establish your team norms.


  • Do you prefer to communicate through email or phone?
  • What is your typical response time to a message?
  • Which types of issues will go through my agent, and which should come directly from me?

Editorial Process

  • How many rounds of edits will this book require?
  • How much turn-around time may I expect?
  • Do we use WORD with Track Changes? Do we use paper copies for editing?
  • How do we resolve conflicts over requested changes?

Marketing and Promotion

  • How far in advance does marketing get started?
  • Will the book release in hardcover, trade paper, mass market, audio, and/or e-book?
  • How much input will I have on the cover? How much input will I have on the jacket copy?
  • If I schedule local events or promotion opportunities, do you want to know about that?
  • What are your expectations for my social media presence?

Work Personality

  • What do you love most about editing?
  • What annoys you most about the publishing industry?
  • What is the biggest mistake you see with new authors?
  • What makes you and your publishing house unique?
  • How would you describe the ideal author?

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