Janet Gurtler, author of the much anticipated YA novel, Weight of Bones due out in Spring 2011. The topic? Agents!
During the discussion, I covered what Agents are, what they do and what type of writer would benefit most from having one. Janet did a spectacular job of describing the process that occurs when an offer is made right through to negotiating the deal. It's amazing how hard agents work on the writer's behalf, securing rights, royalty rates and negotiating the advance. And really this is only the tip of the iceberg! (I found a neat 'mock negotiation' between editor and agent at Ingrid's Notes if you're curious about what the process of making a deal looks like.)
We also looked at the query process from researching agents, writing and critiquing queries to things to ask during 'The Call.' Finding the right agent fit is not always easy and requires a lot of thought for both parties involved. It's not enough to find an agent who can be a passionate advocate, they must also have strong communication skills, a compatible working style and have a strong network within the industry.
All in all, it was a really informative session, and I think everyone came away with a good idea of what it's like inside the agent relationship. As part of the session, Janet and I compiled some 'must have' resources for anyone on the agent/querying path, including a list of questions to consider before signing on the dotted line.
If any Musers out there would like a copy of these handouts from the session, fire me an EMAIL and we'll be happy to share them with you. :)