When an agent eventually seeks to represent your work, it’s time for her to begin selling herself to you. When you’re seeking employment, you don’t necessarily have to accept the first job offer you receive; likewise, you do not have to sign immediately with the first agent who wants you.
Do some checking before agreeing to work with a particular agent. If possible, meet the agent in person. A lot can be learned from in-person meetings that can’t be gathered from telephone conversations. See what positive or negative information you can find out about the agent through your writers’ network. Ask the agent for a client list and permission to call certain clients. Find out the agent’s specialties.
Ask for a copy of the agent’s standard contract. Most agents today will want to codify your relationship with a written agreement; this should protect both parties equally. Make sure you’re comfortable with everything in the agreement before signing it. Again, talking with fellow writers and reading books on the subject are excellent ways to deepen your understanding of industry practices.
When choosing an agent, follow your best instincts. Don’t settle for anyone you don’t perceive to be on the level, or who doesn’t seem to be genuinely enthusiastic about you and your work.
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