There are two questions agents frequently ask writers before they sign them. The problem is most writers are caught off guard by these questions and don’t always answer them the way they would’ve liked. I’ll let you in on the secret so you can prepare ahead of time.
Question #1: Why do you want to be published?
Seems like a simple enough question, right? Wrong. Well, sort of. The agent isn’t just interested in your answer but your attitude. Let’s take a look as how some of your answers COULD be perceived.
Answer #1: I just want to get my story on paper.
Agent’s reaction: Then you don’t need me. If you’re not going to take this seriously and consider writing your new career, I’m not interested.
Answer #2: I want to share my stories with the world.
Agent’s reaction: Why would anyone want to read your stories? What makes you more special than any other writer out there? If you don’t know what’s unique about you and you can’t sell yourself, how am I supposed to?
Answer #3: I want to become a bestseller and make a bundle.
Agent’s reaction: Get real. Do you know how hard it is to become a bestseller? Do you understand how much work is involved? Why do I get the feeling you’re not interested in the writing, just the possible financial benefit. Oh, did I mention you’ll make next to nothing with your first book and possibly every book after that? If you want to become a millionaire, buy a lottery ticket. Your odds are probably better.
Answer #4: I want to be famous.
Agent’s reaction: *Rolls eyes* That’s not going to happen overnight. Are you willing to put in the time and sweat? What if you don’t amount to more than a midlister?
So, what are the agents expecting to hear? They want to know you’re committed, that you understand this journey is hard, long, and not always rewarding. They want you to dream and to set goals, but they need to believe you’re willing to work to attain those goals. In reality, there’s nothing wrong with the answers above as long as you explain them. Don’t give the agent a chance to react in the ways I described above.
Next week, we’ll look at the other question agents tend to ask.
Why do you want to be published? Or if you are published, why did you want to become published?