“The Call” Reversed: What agents like to know about potential authors

contract signingAuthors are usually busy studying up for “the call” (an agent reaching out via phone to offer representation) when they know it’s on the horizon. It’s an exciting time for authors and agents! Resources are everywhere and there are many great guides to “the call” including these:

However, what about the flip side? What do agents like to know about writers when we offer?

What agents like to know about potential fiction authors:

  • What are you working on next?
  • How long does it take you to write a draft?
  • Who are some of your favorite authors?
  • What kind of support are you looking for?
  • What has been your path to publishing? Agented before? Published before?
  • How do you workshop your work? Critique group?
  • Where do your ideas come from?
  • What is your day job? And what does your writing schedule look like?
  • What are some of your career goals and expectations?
  • How many other agents are looking at the manuscript?
  • Do my editorial notes match your vision for the book?
  • How do you feel about social media?

Why I want to know these things:

This is a sample of some of the questions I like to know answers to when I’m getting to know a potential author. Some of the most important things are that we share the same vision for this book and your career, and that we have similar taste in books we read for fun. I like to know that writers have a strong work ethic and a writing group they work with so I’m not the sole provider of feedback. I want to know about your publishing history even if it’s not clean and tidy–often it isn’t. I like to know your patterns like how fast you write and when you write, plus the best time to get in contact with you.

Is it about the answers?

You don’t need “perfect” answers to these questions. It’s nothing you can study for. At the end of the day we want to work with writers who we get along with, whose work we love and feel passionate about, who have a career path that we feel we can assist in, and who trust us.

That call is about both of us deciding we’re a fit. Just because you get an offer doesn’t mean you have to take it. 

Q: What have you been asked on “the call” or hope to be asked?

Further reading:

7 ways to make yourself an easy author to work with

Cover Reveal: LOSING THE LIGHT by Andrea Dunlop

I can’t wait for everyone to read this book! It’s THE VACATIONERS meets THE TALENTED MR RIPLEY. Get ready to pre-order right here!

First step: the cover reveal for LOSING THE LIGHT!

 Losing The Light - Final Cover

Coming February 23rd, 2016 from Atria Books 

Thirty-year-old Brooke Thompson prepares to leave Manhattan and her 20’s behind to move upstate with her fiancé, when she receives a friend’s startling invitation to a party honoring French photographer Alex de Persaud. His name pulls her headlong into a glittering, painful past she has long tried to forget. At the party she finds that the man who was once her single-minded obsession doesn’t remember her. Shattered by his apparent disavowal of their time together, Brooke still can’t resist accepting his invitation for a date the following week. Catapulted back to her youth, Brooke relives the events of a decade before when she spent a year in France following a disastrous affair with a professor. There she develops a deep and complicated friendship with Sophie, a fellow American and stunning blonde whose golden girl façade hides a precarious emotional fragility. Their lives are forever changed when they meet sly, stylish French student Veronique and her impossibly sexy older cousin, Alex. The cousins draw the two girls into an irresistible world of art, money, decadence and ultimately, a disastrous love triangle that consumes them both. Of the two of them, only Brooke ever makes it home.

Losing the Light is a smart, sexy, thrilling novel. Andrea Dunlop’s debut brilliantly captures the tension and sharp edges of female friendships, infatuation, and life abroad. You will feel transported to France, as if you yourself are speaking French and drinking a little too much wine with your best friend and a dangerously handsome man.”

-Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of Maybe in Another Life, After I Do, and Forever Interrupted

“It’s got Gainsbourg’s ‘Sea, Sex, and Sun’ plus red wine and betrayal—a compulsively readable debut about forever friendships that can’t last.”

–Courtney Maum, bestselling author of I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You

“Andrea Dunlop’s captivating debut ardently delivers the thrill and joy and exquisite pain of being young and in love: with a friend, with a lover, with a country, with a life, with the future. I felt myself twenty and in France with nothing but heady enchantment before me… utterly transporting.”

-Laurie Frankel, author of Goodbye for Now and The Atlas of Love 


Take a behind the scenes look at how LOSING THE LIGHT came to be:

Pre-order today!

Happy Book Birthday to THE SECRETS OF LAKE ROAD by Karen Katchur

Today’s the day! THE SECRETS OF LAKE ROAD is available in a store near you. Live in PA? Join Karen at one of her events this month:

August 4th 2pm Women’s Fiction Writer’s Association Launch Party, Online

August 4th 6:00-8:00 pm Moravian Book Shop Bethlehem, PA

August 6th 7:00 pm Open Book Bookstore Elkins Park, PA

August 13th 6:00pm Let’s Play Books! Emmaus, PA

SecretsLakeRoad_cover_hi res

*A Library Journal best debut selection*

Jo has been hiding the truth about her role in her high school boyfriend’s drowning for sixteen years. Every summer, she drops her children off with her mother at the lakeside community where she spent summers growing up, but cannot bear to stay herself; everything about the lake reminds her of the guilt she feels. For her daughter Caroline, however, the lake is a precious world apart; its familiarity and sameness comforts her every year despite the changes in her life outside its bounds. At twelve years old and caught between childhood and adolescence, she longs to win her mother’s love and doesn’t understand why Jo keeps running away.

Then seven-year-old Sara Starr goes missing from the community beach. Rescue workers fail to uncover any sign of her-but instead dredge up the bones Jo hoped would never be discovered, shattering the quiet lakeside community’s tranquility. Caroline was one of the last people to see Sara alive on the beach, and feels responsible for her disappearance. She takes it upon herself to figure out what happened to the little girl. As Caroline searches for Sara, she uncovers the secrets her mother has been hiding, unraveling the very foundation of everything she knows about herself and her family. The Secrets of Lake Road by Karen Katchur is a riveting novel that is impossible to put down and hard to forget.

Guest Post: Karen Katchur “How This Book Came To Be”

Today debut author Karen Katchur is on the blog talking about her novel THE SECRETS OF LAKE ROAD which is out tomorrow.

Hear about the writing process straight from her! Read below about how her sixth book written is finally her debut, and how the dead body she saw as a kid changed her forever.

Chat with Karen on Twitter and let her know what you think of her post below and her novel: THE SECRETS OF LAKE ROAD out 8/4.


Karen Katchur - Author PhotoIt’s common for writers to get asked where they get their story ideas. It’s different for every writer of course, but for me, I tend to build my fiction around an event. The event can be of a personal nature, or it can be something I’ve read or heard about. THE SECRETS OF LAKE ROAD just happens to be of a personal nature.

When I was nine or ten years old, a young teenage boy had drowned at a lake where my grandmother owned a cabin. I’d watched them drag the lake for several days before they’d finally pulled his body onto the beach. The tragedy of that day has never left me. It was the first dead body I ever saw.

It was this event that sparked the idea for SECRETS. Written in five characters’ points of view, the two most prominent being Caroline and her mother, Jo, the novel explores the destructive power of secrets not only within a family unit, but also within a community.

SECRETS is the sixth novel I’ve written, but the first to be published. I had to write several novels before I could look at my stories as a whole and say: This is where I get my ideas, and this is how my process works. If I’m really excited about the event, setting, and characters, I know it’s something I should write.

Q: What about you? Where do you get your ideas from? And how do you know which ones have legs so to speak?