Friday, April 15, 2011

Test Your Literary Agent IQ

 (Answers provided below)

1.  If you feel strongly about a particular agent who posts that he or she is not presently taking new clients, you should go ahead and query that agent anyway.  True or False?

2.  Some agents who charge reading fees are considered legitimate.  True or False?
3.  To maximize your response from agents, you should tell everything you possibly can about your book in your query letter.  True or False?
4.  If you sign a representation agreement with a literary agent, that agent must represent any and all subsequent books you write.  True or False?
5.  To legally advertise their services as a "literary agent," agencies must be a member of the Association of Artist's Representatives (AAR).  True or False?
6.  One of the most common reasons first novels are passed over by agents is that the story takes too long to get started.  True or False?
7.  It is perfectly ethical to query more than one agent at a time about the same book.  True or false?
8.  If you want to see your unpublished novel made into a movie, you should query Hollywood studios and producers directly.  True or false?
9.  Depending upon your circumstances, it may be appropriate for you to seek a literary agent in a country other than the one in which you presently live.  True or False?
10.  Most agents devote a great deal of time editing their clients’ books.  True or False?
11.  It is against the AAR’s Canon of Ethics for any member agency to charge a reading fee.  True or False?
12.  Except for using their established publishing industry contacts to submit manuscripts to editors, agents provide no other tangible services to authors to justify the commissions they earn.  True or False?

1.  False.  Most agents read every query they receive, regardless of how "full" their lists are, because they can always make room for a book that really hits their hot button.  (Some agents will want to throttle me for telling you this, but it's the truth)

2.  False.  Industry consensus is that any agent who charges a reading fee is unethical.  The only people who seem to disagree with this are agents who charge reading fees.

3.  False.  Queries should be limited to one page, maximum, and should only include enough to whet the agent's appetite and make him/her want to read more. (see 15 Common Mistakes Found in Query Letters)

4.  False.  Most agencies have agreements that promise they will market your present book, but give them the right to pick and choose which of your future books they handle.  Usually the contract guarantees the agency the "first right of refusal," and if they pass on a subsequent book, you have the right to find another agent who will represent it. 

5.  True.

6.  True. (see A Dozen+ Reasons Books are Rejected by Agents & Editors)

7.  True.   If you choose to do so, some agents believe that you, as author, are obligated to notify them of this fact in your query, but most agents assume that you are making a "multiple submission" unless you indicate otherwise (see "What is an exclusive query..." under Common Questions about Agents & Publishers)

8.  False.  Hollywood rarely buys the film rights to manuscripts written by unknown authors and which have not already been sold to a publisher.  Once sold, most good agents can handle the film rights for you, but  this is something you should ask about before signing any contract of representation.  (See Common Questions about Agents & Publishers)

9.  True.  (See Common Questions about Agents & Publishers)

10.  False.  Most agents expect your novel to be in publishable shape before they will agree to represent it.  Sometimes agents will devote a significant amount of time editing and polishing a manuscript, but this the exception, not the rule.  The agent's primary functions are marketing, contract negotiation and royalty accounting.

11.  True.

12.  False.  Literary agents provide a wide range of services which justify their commissions (see 5 Steps to Landing a Good Literary Agent)

If you enjoyed this quiz, you might want to test your general novel and film knowledge with the Story Synopsis Quiz.

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