Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Newbie Question #13

13. Will an agent expect me to sign a contract? Should I sign one?

You know, honestly, I don't really know. I know that I requested and signed a contract with my first agent, and I didn't with my second.

This is also one of those questions that may be different depending on the genre you write in. There seem to be to be a lot more "handshake contracts" in science fiction/fantasy, though I'm not saying this is necessarily a better thing.

A contract with your agent is, however, very likely a GOOD THING. It's wise to have certain things spelled out in black and white, particularly if you've never entered into this kind of relationship before. It's good to know, for instance, under what conditions you can terminate your relationship with your agent (and visa versa.)

I think just as critical is to have a conversation in which you discuss beforehand what sorts of things your agent will and won't do for you. Will they share rejections? Will they give editorial advice? How often can you expect to hear from them?

Those things won't be spelled out in a contract, but they're good to know for your own sanity.

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