FAQ

What does an agent do for me?

To be taken seriously by any major publishing house, a recognized and respected agent must first be acquired. An agent’s job does not end with getting you the deal. We have to make sure that your contract protects your interests. We have to make sure your relationship with the publishing houses in all the territories your work is sold is going smoothly. And most importantly, your agent is your guide and advocate. It is our job to know what editors are looking for, which editor would be best to submit to, and how to negotiate the best deal possible.

Does your agency charge reading fees?

If an agent asks you to pay money upfront – run! No legitimate agency will ask you for money before they make a sale. Our commissions are based on advances and royalties from sales only.

What are your submission guidelines and how do I frame my query?

The best way to attract our attention is to be straightforward. Start by telling us the title of your manuscript and what it’s about. Then tell us about yourself. You don’t have to have related academic credentials, or have been published previously to be represented by us, but a brief background of who you are and why you wrote your book can give us a more complete perspective of your work. Please avoid opening lines such as “What would happen if…” or “Imagine…” as this generally doesn’t help to get to the real content of what you are pitching. Please also do your research around our website. Know which agent might be the best fit for your work, and how to spell that agent’s name correctly. Please submit all of this in the body of your email – no attachments – and make sure it is double-spaced and in 12-point font. We like the additional tips found here at Writer’s Relief. Finally, please do not drop by personally to hand us your submission. We never accept queries delivered in this manner.

I emailed a query but I never heard back! Why?

The email to use is info@helenhelleragency.com. We receive so many submissions a day that we just don’t have the time to respond to the unsolicited queries (be they via email, phone, or mail without a SASE) that aren’t right for us. If you don’t hear from us within two months, please expect that you won’t hear from us at all. And speaking of SASE’s, please don’t send us queries through regular mail, or call us regarding queries unless we’ve already been in touch with you first. Email submissions as per our submission guidelines only.

What if I’m already represented? Can I switch agents?

Sometimes the agent you start out with is the agent you’ll have throughout your career. Sometimes it doesn’t work out that way, due to a variety of reasons.  If you’re thinking of making a change, and would like to talk to us, we’d love to hear from you. And we’ll tell you honestly if we think we’re a good fit.

I am already published under my own name, but I’d like to start something else under a pseudonym. Do people do this? Does it work?

If you’re known for one kind of book, but you’d like to try another, a pseudonym might well be the way to go. Sometimes authors feel freer and more creative writing as ‘another’ person.

What about film and television rights? Do you represent those as well? And what about foreign rights?

We don’t handle entertainment rights, but we make it our business to know the best agents who do, and work individually with them on a case by case basis. Our translation rights are handled by The Marsh Agency in London, England.

Do you handle original screenplay?  Do you handle illustrated children’s books?

No. We don’t handle either of those kinds of property.