Alyssa: She signs clients on a term-by-term basis with yearly contracts. It gives the agent ample opportunity to work with the client editorially then sell. There's a written agreement.
Michael S: They have a contract that's not on a term basis. It's not binding forever, just as long as we're both happy. It gets the business out of the way and let's them focus on the revision and selling of manuscripts.
Edward: He works on a handshake. He doesn't want to be held hostage and doesn't want to hold people hostage. Some clients want some sort of outline of terms in which case he'll write a letter. (Adults side of his agency does use contracts.) Finding a real book is like falling in love, he says, and this applies more in 2009 than ever.
Michael B: They sign an agreement for first book, then work on a handshake after that. They want to lay out how the buisness aspects of the agreement works.