How to choose an agent

The TV (and film) writing agency situation remains in flux, with the biggest agencies refusing to budge from the positions that started the whole mess, and as a consequence the WGA has been doing all it can to help writers represent themselves safely and knowledgeably.

Eventually, things will sort themselves out, but until that time “due diligence” is the order of the day. Know all you can about the talent agency biz people! Learn how to tell good agents from bad, if for no other reason than to make sure you are the best agent for yourself that you can be.

Here at TVWriter™ we believe the following article is a good place to start your education.

How to Choose an Agent Amid Competing Offers
by Barbara Poelle

I received an offer of representation for my young adult novel. When I notified the other agents who had the full manuscript that I was withdrawing from consideration, I got an additional five offers! What would you advise I ask of the offering agents in this situation?


Full Dance Card

Dear Happy Dancer,

Well, first of all, if I am one of the offering agents, I advise you to pick me. I am delightful.

But really, thank you so much for this question, because this happens more often than most authors realize. When multiple agents make an offer on the same manuscript, there are indeed several questions you should ask the offering parties, and yourself, in order to determine which one might be your best match.

I should note for others here that these questions should also be considered even if only one agent is offering. After all, an offer isn’t an obligation—it’s an invitation, right? So invite them into a conversation!

First, let’s assume that each of the offering agents is someone you chose for a particular reason, and not merely the result of a shot of tequila and a handful of darts flung at the pages of the Guide to Literary Agents. I would suggest taking a page out of my client Traci Chee’s approach when the same thing happened to her—open a new document on your computer or grab a legal pad and write every agent’s name and the primary reason why you queried each one at the top.

Next, take a look at how long each agent has been in practice and how many clients he represents….

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