Dear Miss Snark:
(1) Is it standard practice, if an agency wants to represent you, to provide full or partial paid travel expenses to have a meeting with you? I'd be going West coast to East coast.
(2a) Also, is it standard practice, with a non-fiction proposal, to want the writer to provide the agency with additional writing (more than the standard three chapters) or (2b) proposal changes as part of the decision making for representing you?
(3) Does the proposal, e-mailing and a phone call usually give the agent all the information he needs to decide if he or she is going to represent you?
(4) Or do they make a first-time writer jump through many additional hoops?
I could go on but I've picked the most unanswered and important to ask.
Thank you for your time.
4. ahhhh...how you phrase the question says a lot
The connotation for jumping through hoops is that it's a pointless exercise for our amusement.
Generally agents want to make sure they can sell something before they take it on. If you're getting a lot of requests to make changes or provide additional info don't look at as jumping through hoops, look at it as steps toward yes.
Generally, for amusement we read our slushpile.