Top 21 Literary Agent Interview Questions In 2022 [With Answers]

Be it the good old times when novels, storybooks, and poems were the primary means of entertainment, or be it the present time when Netflix, Amazon Prime, and OTT applications have taken a center stage.

Literary agents are ever-present and simply unrelenting. It is only that their job role has taken a 360 degrees turn, but their relevance, presence, and importance are still very much there to be felt.

They act as a link or a bridge between the author and the publishing houses and/ or production houses. They not only value the worth of an author’s creation but also help them to get the right value for their art.

Hence, if you have those relevant skills and a wide interest in various works of literature and arts then becoming a Literary agent is a perfect career option. Prepare hard for your upcoming interview session by reading out the sample questions mentioned below.

Literary Agent Interview Questions

21 Best Interview Questions To Study

1. Mark Twain Was A Famous and Successful Novelist Who Created Several Masterpieces. It Still Inspires Several Present Day Authors and Literary Agents. Can You Tell The Basic Summary Of Any Of The Books Written By Him?

Sample Answer

Yes sir, This is absolutely true. In response to your question, I would like to share with you my understanding of the famous novel “The Mysterious Stranger”.

It starts with a scene when three boys, named, Seppi Wohlmeyer, Nikolaus Bauman, and Theodor Fischer (narrator) are visited by a mysterious stranger while they were sitting in the woods. The name of this person is Satan and he claims to have magical powers.

After this, some magical things start to happen that are described at great length in the novel. It is argued that Satan lead to the death of Sippi and even mocked the human way of living. One fine day, he sees off Theodor and never reappears.

2. What Is Your Interpretation Of The Famous Novel “The Christmas Carol” Written By Charles Dickens? State Its Basic Plot and The Message Conveyed.

Sample Answer

Sir, The Christmas Carol is one of the best classics written by Charles Dickens. It represents three Christmas spirits, which are:

  • The ghost of Christmas Past – It represents the memory and is demonstrated with a glowing head
  • The ghost of Christmas Present – It represents empathy, benevolence, and kindness
  • The ghost of Christmas yet to come/ Future – It represents the fear of upcoming death

This novel revolves around the fictional character Scrooge. For him everything is Bah!! Humbug. He is utterly shrewd, compassionate, and lacks sympathy for his fellow beings. He gets transformed when these three Christmas spirits visit him.

Dickens through this novel wants to state that people should be compassionate and practice the principle of universal love. Everyone should rejoice during Christmas times and must spread the feeling of love and belongingness.

3. Describe A Time When You Ignored A Literary Talent. Also, State What Compelled You To Do So.

Sample Answer

Sir, writers/ authors work really hard. Imagination is a gift, and aligning all the sequences in a logical and inter-related manner is an art. Although I never ignore any literary talent, sometimes you can’t help yourself otherwise.

I remember an instance when a young writer, who was really talented and energetic, had written a Novella. His creation was really good, has minimal scope for improvements. But, his attitude was boorish and immature. The lad was too greedy and was demanding a very high commission rate. Despite my guidance and counseling, he stood firm on his decision. This prompted me to ignore him and move on.

4. What Are The Different Types Of Literature You Have Ever Come Across?

Sample Answer

Sir, during my career as a literary agent I have come across several types of literature written by different authors. Typically, literature can be divided into five different genres, which are:

  • Media
  • Drama
  • Prose
  • Poetry
  • Non-fiction

5. “Hamlet” Is One Of The Most Artistic, Perfect and Popular Classics Written By The Great William Shakespeare. I Hope You Must Have Read It. If Yes, Please Share Some Of The Facts Associated With Hamlet.

Sample Answer

Yes sir, I wonder if there is anyone who has not read Hamlet. It is a wonderful literary piece and besides giving an overdose of entertainment, it aims to develop one’s logical arguments and critical thinking abilities. Some common facts are:

  • Hamlet is a play and it takes place in Denmark
  • It was written between 1600 and 1601 by William Shakespeare who lived in Stratford, England
  • The castle covered in the play is called Elsinore
  • The first words of the play are – Who’s there?
  • The father of Hamlet died because Claudius poured poison into his ears
  • Hamlet is stopped from grieving his father’s death by Claudius and Gertrude

6. State The Three Best Attributes That Every Literary Agent Must Possess.

Sample Answer

Sir, in my humble opinion, a literary agent must be:

  • Intellectual
  • Creative and
  • Empathetic

7. Writing Is A Dying Art. Comment On This Statement.

Sample Answer

Sir, I completely disagree with this statement. Before the era of the internet, printed and written texts used to rule the roost and covered most of the writing industry. However, after the appearance of the internet, the papers started to get saved and all the written text shifted to their digital versions.

Hence, writing is not dying, rather it is just a shift from the traditional paperback versions to the digital versions. The books are replaced with kindles. That’s it. The writers are the same and their creations are also the same. It is just that the means of presentation has changed.

8. As A Literary Agent You Will Be Required To Work In Close Association With The Authors and Editors. Can You Tell Me Something About Fiction?

Sample Answer

Yes sir, my work primarily revolves around editors, authors, writers, publishers, and various other agencies. Sir, fiction is a literary creation that is purely based upon imagination. It comprises several imaginary characters, places, and situations that are perfectly compiled and arranged to form a logical sequence.

Further, fiction can also represent some real situations or stories as well. It always comprises narratives, which helps the readers to remain hooked with it all the time.

9. In The Light Of Rapid Technological Advancements, Don’t You Think You Will Soon Be Replaced By Some Software/ Bots?

Sample Answer

Sir, if that is the case then I feel someday the books will be written, published, and read by the bots themselves. No need for humans, I feel. In my opinion, my job would never be taken over by a bot, as it involves some high level of intellectual abilities, analysis, and the ability to form human relations. I feel technology won’t be able to reach that zone.

10. A Literary Agent Is Supposed To Establish A Perfect Deal Between The Author and The Publishing House. Have You Worked Upon Literary Fiction? If Yes, Please Tell What It Is and How You Market It?

Sample Answer

Sir, literary fiction is distinct from its counterpart commercial fiction, which is meant for large audiences. On contrary, literary fiction is prepared for a smaller but intellectually advanced audience, which prefers to read complex and imaginative writing. Such an audience prefers to understand the deep meanings hidden beneath the literary text and aims to develop their own arguments.

Marketing literary fiction is a tough task as you need to search for the right market for it that is usually scattered. However, I have a few contacts with some established publishing houses that are dealing in literary fiction for decades. I usually take the author’s work to them and pitch it.

11. It Is Quite Evident From Your Resume That You Are Working In This Industry For The Past Several Years. What Are The Various Genres and Niches That You Have Come Across and Successfully Pitched To The Publishing Houses?

Sample Answer

Sir, there is a wide variety of literary genres. The mind of a writer is like a never-ending ocean. It knows no boundaries and always flies high intending to try and prepare something artistic.

I have come across several literary genres, such as Classics, Comics, Detectives, Fairytale, Folklore, Historical fiction, Match fiction, Horror, Suspense, Thriller, Poetry, etc. Out of these, I have successfully pitched Folklore, Match fiction, Mythology, Mystery, Science fiction, and Fables.

12. You Being A Literary Agent, We Expect You To Be Interested In Books, Journals, Poems, and Commentaries. What Is The Most Recent Literary Piece That You Have Read and How It Impacted You?

Sample Answer

Sir, most recently I read (mention the name of your book). It truly created a positive impact upon me besides enhancing my critical thinking abilities. After completing this book, I feel to be more confident and always look upon the different negative aspects of life in a positive manner. Further, it has also inculcated a sense of positivity in me that gives me a new point of view of looking at the various things in life.

13. Describe A Time When You Pitched A Literary Creation To A Publishing House But It Failed Miserably In The Market.

Sample Answer

Sir, ups and downs are a part of life. There are always phases of success and short bursts when humans experience failure. I remember an instance when I accepted the work of a famous author without doing much of an analysis of the novel written by him. I went by his brand name and felt that it was enough to get the sales. However, I was wrong and the publishing house was not able to sell even 500 copies of his book.

14. Share The Different Forms Of Fiction Writing. Also, Explain Them In Brief.

Sample Answer

Sure, sir. The various forms of fiction writing are:

Types of Fiction WritingExplanation
Short storiesIt comprises a few imaginative characters. It creates a specific situation that is entirely fancy in nature to convey any moral, teaching, or truth
NovellasThe length of novellas is greater than that of a short story as it has more characters. Further, a novella may or may not impart any teaching.
NovelsThese are long pieces of literary text and are longer than both short stories and novellas. These are usually created with a bunch of several imaginative characters. The situations and plots are created to display some specific scenes and events using narratives.
PoemsThese are rhyming versions of literature and are based upon the fundamentals of rhythm, rhyme, and imagination. These present an abstract view of any situation/ event and usually creates an image in the mind of the reader.
Play scriptsThese refer to the literary pieces that are written for drama actors. By reading these scripts a complete theatrical performance is carried out.

15. Walk Me Through Your Typical Workday and Share The Three Primary Duties That Every Literary Agent Has To Perform.

Sample Answer

Sure sir, These are:

  • Identification of literary talents and establishing a cordial and long-lasting relationship with the writers, editors, and authors.
  • Pitching the literary work of the authors to the publishing houses and getting them the right compensation
  • Offering valuable guidance, counseling, and suggestions to the budding authors

16. Technology Is An Important Element In Evaluating The Quality Of Written Texts. Which Software Are You Aware Of?

Sample Answer

Yes, sir. That is absolutely true. I am aware of a variety of software, such as:

  • ProWritingAid
  • Copyscape
  • Publisher Rocket
  • Vellum, etc.

17. Literary Agents Usually Work On Both Fixed Pay and Variable Compensation. Can You Share Your Salary Expectations With Us?

Sample Answer

Sir, I am expecting a royalty commission of 2% of the total sales and a fixed salary in the range of $30,000 to $40,000. Moreover, these figures are not random or arbitrary, rather based on some serious market research.

18. Describe Yourself In One Word.

Sample Answer

Sir, summarizing the whole of my personality into one word is kind of hard. But still, I would say that I am Visionary. This is because I have the knack for accurately estimating the market potential of the literary text that comes into my foray.

19. There Are Three Characteristics In Every Piece Of Literary Creation, Especially Fiction. Are You Aware Of Them? If Yes, Please Tell Me Something About Them.

Sample Answer

Yes sir, I am aware of the three characteristics that serve as the basis for every literary creation. These are:

The Three Fundamental CharacteristicsExplanation
CharacterA character is the hero of the story that can be a person, an animal, a mythical figure, or even a fantasy. The entire fiction revolves around these characters, who are strategically placed under different situations and events.
PlotIt represents the primary event/ situation, which defines the entire length of the literary piece.
Point of View (PoV)It represents the narrative voice or tone using which a story is told or narrated. Through this PoV a story establishes romance, mystery, conflicts, and presents emotions.

20. When Can You Start Working With Us?

Sample Answer

Sir, I was working with an organization earlier but due to some reasons, I wanted to migrate. Hence, I served that a notice way back and they even relieved me. Hence, I am an immediate starter.

21. Do You Have Any Questions For Us?

It is common for the interviewers to conclude an interview session with the help of this interview question. This not only helps them to know about your various doubts and apprehensions but also enables them to check your seriousness towards the company. Thus, Prepmycareer recommends always attempting this interview question and asking a few relevant counter-questions from your interviewer. Below are some of the best sample questions for your better understanding:

Sample Questions

  • Can you please tell the different incentives and allowances available to the Literary agents upon achievement of the targets?
  • What are the various anti-harassment rules that are implemented by the company for the protection of its employees from possible instances of harassment, bullying, teasing, etc.?
  • I am a progressive individual and always prefer to gain regular promotions. Can you share the promotional policies of the company?

References

  1. https://journals.ametsoc.org/view/journals/wcas/14/1/WCAS-D-21-0085.1.xml
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=gEBQEAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PT17&dq=Top+21+Literary+Agent+Interview+Questions+in+2022+%5Bwith+Answers%5D&ots=lGQVu6JEY5&sig=iRD38jeo7d3H28oVDSCEZlRS5_E
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