Oh Great Guru of Wicked Snark,
I have two very short questions. Number 1 – if the agent does happen to want a deal, will I be made to fly into the bastions of New York to sign the contract, or do I even get to meet this person? Number 2 – since I will probably be spending a lot of time with this person, when does it come along to ask for a reference for services, without offending said agent and blowing the whole deal?
for all protestations of devotion in your signature (redacted) you haven't slithered through the Snarkives very thoroughly cause I know I've answered both questions before.
However, here ya go:
1. You don't have to fly to NYC to sign a contract. I have several clients I've never met. I do try to meet them but it's not a consideration before signing if I haven't.
2. You ask for references before you sign up with an agent. Any agent who won't give you client contact info should be avoided at all costs. This is absolute. I have some clients I don't give contact info for, but I have several who are willing to be contacted and I give their names out when asked without a second thought. All reputable agents expect to be asked for this information, it's not seen as intrusive or unwelcome. It's also fine to contact an author directly without an agent's ok. You may not get an answer but it's still ok to do it. I hear about this from my clients all the time.